Lilas Demmou, Guido Franco, 14 November 2021

Loan guarantee programmes have played a key role in reducing Covid-related distortions to market selection, shielding many high-productivity firms and supporting zombie firms only to a limited extent. This column argues, however, that such schemes do not come without risks for future productivity, as sizeable programmes may favour the build-up of misallocation in the medium term. Engineering an effective exit strategy from these schemes – preserving their benefits while reducing their drawbacks – is critical to foster the recovery of the corporate sector.

Benoît Cœuré, 08 September 2021

In March 2020, the French parliament tasked an independent committee with monitoring the financial support available to companies during the Covid-19 crisis. A rich firm-level database – matching receipt of government money with balance-sheet records, tracing payroll and turnover trajectories for the first two waves of the pandemic – was the result. This column mines that database to evaluate the incentives for accepting government aid; the impact of support measures; and heterogeneity across industries, firms, and locations. The authors judge French fiscal support during the crisis a tentative success.

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