Are Business Policy Measures in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic to Be Equally Valued? An Exploration According to SMEs Owners’ Business Expectations

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Abstract

A variety of public economic policy measures have been designed and implemented in an effort to enable SMEs to limit damages resulting from the adverse sanitary and economic shocks associated with COVID-19. The originality of our study is to propose a rating of the various economic policy measures, the rating being expressed by SMEs owners conditional to their business expectations. In so doing, our contribution is to highlight the policy measures to be implemented in order to support resilient and ambitious ventures with the most positive prospects, which are likely to contribute the most to economic recovery. We exploit an original and rich dataset derived from a survey conducted in May 2020 among a representative sample of more than 2100 Belgian (Walloon) SMEs. The Belgian experience is remarkable because the wide variety of measures it undertook echoes many of the measures taken by OECD countries. Our results suggest that the respondents have an overall positive evaluation of the various economic and social policy measures implemented by the Belgian authorities. More importantly, the rating by SME owners with the most favorable expectations are, however, significantly different than their counterpart. Measures helping firms to maintain their workforce are particularly highly rated by firms with the best prospects. It also appears that those firms prefer short-term and transitory measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11576
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • SMEs
  • self-employed
  • COVID-19
  • Economic policy

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