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Efficient Programs to Support Businesses During and After Lockdowns


  • Thomas Philippon


I analyze efficient government interventions to mitigate financial distress during a severe macroeconomic downturn. At the macroeconomic level, the key variable is the gap between the real wage and the shadow cost of labor. This gap is large when unemployment is high. At the micro level, laissez-faire leads to excessive liquidation of businesses but an indiscriminate bailout prevents efficient reallocations and implies a large transfer from taxpayers to existing private creditors. I show that a cost-efficient intervention can be achieved with a continuation premium, whereby the government agrees to reduce its claims by the same haircut as private creditors plus a fixed premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Philippon, 2020. "Efficient Programs to Support Businesses During and After Lockdowns," NBER Working Papers 28211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:28211
    Note: CF EFG LS PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Philippon & Philipp Schnabl, 2013. "Efficient Recapitalization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(1), pages 1-42, February.
    2. Elena Carletti & Tommaso Oliviero & Marco Pagano & Loriana Pelizzon & Marti G Subrahmanyam, 0. "The COVID-19 Shock and Equity Shortfall: Firm-Level Evidence from Italy," Review of Corporate Finance Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 534-568.
    3. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Veronika Penciakova & Nick Sander, 2020. "COVID-19 and SME Failures," IMF Working Papers 2020/207, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Olivier J Blanchard & Thomas Philippon & Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2020. "A new policy toolkit is needed as countries exit COVID-19 lockdowns," Policy Briefs PB20-8, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    5. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni & Ludwig Straub & Iván Werning, 2020. "Macroeconomic Implications of COVID-19: Can Negative Supply Shocks Cause Demand Shortages?," Working Papers 2020-35, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    6. Brunnermeier, Markus & Krishnamurthy, Arvind, 2020. "Corporate Debt Overhang and Credit Policy," Research Papers 3876, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    7. Jean Tirole, 2006. "The Theory of Corporate Finance," Post-Print hal-00173191, HAL.
    8. Callum J. Jones & Thomas Philippon & Venky Venkateswaran, 2020. "Optimal Mitigation Policies in a Pandemic: Social Distancing and Working from Home," NBER Working Papers 26984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Thomas Philippon & Vasiliki Skreta, 2012. "Optimal Interventions in Markets with Adverse Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 1-28, February.
    10. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    11. Fabiano Schivardi & Enrico Sette & Guido Tabellini, 0. "Identifying the Real Effects of Zombie Lending," Review of Corporate Finance Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 569-592.
    12. Vincent Glode & Christian Opp, 2020. "Renegotiation in Debt Chains," NBER Working Papers 27883, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management


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