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Information Frictions and Access to the Paycheck Protection Program

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  • Christopher Neilson
  • John Eric Humphries
  • Gabriel Ulyssea

Abstract

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) extended 669 billion dollars of forgivable loans in an unprecedented effort to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This paper provides evidence that information frictions and the “first-come, first-served” design of the PPP program skewed its resources towards larger firms and may have permanently reduced its effectiveness. Using new daily survey data on small businesses in the U.S., we show that the smallest businesses were less aware of the PPP and less likely to apply. If they did apply, the smallest businesses applied later, faced longer processing times, and were less likely to have their application approved. These frictions may have mattered, as businesses that received aid report fewer layoffs, higher employment, and improved expectations about the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Neilson & John Eric Humphries & Gabriel Ulyssea, 2020. "Information Frictions and Access to the Paycheck Protection Program," NBER Working Papers 27624, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27624
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    Cited by:

    1. Sabrina T. Howell & Theresa Kuchler & David Snitkof & Johannes Stroebel & Jun Wong, 2021. "Lender Automation and Racial Disparities in Credit Access," NBER Working Papers 29364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Claire Brennecke & Stefan Jacewitz & Jonathan Pogach, 2022. "Shared Destinies? Small Banks and Small Business Consolidation," Research Working Paper RWP 21-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    3. Allen, Kyle D. & Whitledge, Matthew D., 2022. "Further evidence on the effectiveness of community banks in the Paycheck Protection Program," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47(PA).
    4. W. Blake Marsh & Padma Sharma, 2021. "Government Loan Guarantees during a Crisis: The Effect of the PPP on Bank Lending and Profitability," Research Working Paper RWP 21-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    5. Charlene Marie Kalenkoski & Sabrina Wulff Pabilonia, 2022. "Impacts of COVID-19 on the self-employed," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 741-768, February.
    6. Webster Allan & Khorana Sangeeta & Pastore Francesco, 2022. "The effects of COVID-19 on employment, labor markets, and gender equality in Central America," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 13(1), pages 1-43, January.
    7. Santiago Barraza & Martín Rossi & Timothy J. Yeager, 2020. "The Short-Term Effect of the Paycheck Protection Program on Unemployment," Working Papers 144, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Aug 2020.
    8. João Granja & Christos Makridis & Constantine Yannelis & Eric Zwick, 2020. "Did the Paycheck Protection Program Hit the Target?," Working Papers 2020-52_Revised, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    9. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Shaoteng Li & Nicolas Vincent, 2022. "Debt‐relief programs and money left on the table: Evidence from Canada's response to COVID‐19," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(S1), pages 9-53, February.
    10. Sabrina T. Howell & Theresa Kuchler & David Snitkof & Johannes Stroebel & Jun Wong, 2021. "Racial Disparities in Access to Small Business Credit: Evidence from the Paycheck Protection Program," CESifo Working Paper Series 9345, CESifo.
    11. Guerrero-Amezaga, Maria Elena & Humphries, John Eric & Neilson, Christopher A. & Shimberg, Naomi & Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2022. "Small firms and the pandemic: Evidence from Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 155(C).
    12. Berger, Allen N. & Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli, 2021. "Banking research in the time of COVID-19," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
    13. Steven Hamilton, 2020. "A tale of two wage subsidies: The American and Australian fiscal responses to COVID-19," Working Papers 2020-12, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    14. Lei Li & Philip Strahan, 2020. "Who Supplies PPP Loans (And Does it Matter)? Banks, Relationships and the COVID Crisis," NBER Working Papers 28286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Robert Fairlie & Frank M. Fossen, 2022. "Did the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program get disbursed to minority communities in the early stages of COVID-19?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 829-842, February.
    16. Bruce D. Meyer, 1992. "Policy Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Experiments," NBER Working Papers 4197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Robert W. Fairlie & Frank Fossen, 2021. "Did the $660 Billion Paycheck Protection Program and $220 Billion Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Get Disbursed to Minority Communities in the Early Stages of COVID-19?," NBER Working Papers 28321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Heather Kolakowski & Mardelle McCuskey Shepley & Ellie Valenzuela-Mendoza & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2021. "How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change Workplaces, Healthcare Markets and Healthy Living: An Overview and Assessment," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(18), pages 1-19, September.
    19. Sriya Anbil & Mark A. Carlson & Mary-Frances Styczynski, 2021. "The Effect of the PPPLF on PPP Lending by Commercial Banks," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-030, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    20. Rachel Atkins & Lisa Cook & Robert Seamans, 2022. "Discrimination in lending? Evidence from the Paycheck Protection Program," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 58(2), pages 843-865, February.
    21. Izzeldin, Marwan & Muradoğlu, Yaz Gülnur & Pappas, Vasileios & Sivaprasad, Sheeja, 2021. "The impact of Covid-19 on G7 stock markets volatility: Evidence from a ST-HAR model," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    22. Allen N. Berger & Onesime Epouhe & Raluca Roman, 2021. "A Tale of Two Bailouts: Effects of TARP and PPP on Subprime Consumer Debt," Working Papers 21-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    23. Granja, João & Makridis, Christos & Yannelis, Constantine & Zwick, Eric, 2022. "Did the paycheck protection program hit the target?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 725-761.
    24. Michael D. Noel, 2022. "Competitive survival in a devastated industry: Evidence from hotels during COVID‐19," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 3-24, February.
    25. Wei Cui & Jeffrey Hicks & Max Norton, 2022. "How well-targeted are payroll tax cuts as a response to COVID-19? evidence from China," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(5), pages 1321-1347, October.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies

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