With the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic likely to be particularly devastating for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), countries around the globe are faced with the task of determining how best to support such businesses. A number of potential intervention types exist and are already being deployed, many of which have also been used in response to earlier financial crises. This post begins by describing the fundamental challenge: to provide SME assistance quickly and on a large scale. It next examines each of the primary tools governments can use to extend assistance to SMEs on such a scale. In so doing, it provides examples of the use of these tools drawn from the current situation and previous crises. The post then presents a detailed analysis of the framework for SME assistance established in the United States by the recently adopted CARES Act as one example of how interventions can be combined to support SMEs. It concludes by offering some takeaways about why certain SME assistance interventions may be preferable to others in given contexts.
Continue reading “Large-Scale Assistance Programs for Small Businesses”