NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Firm-level Exposure to Epidemic Diseases: Covid-19, SARS, and H1N1

Tarek Alexander Hassan, Stephan Hollander, Laurence van Lent, Ahmed Tahoun

NBER Working Paper No. 26971
Issued in April 2020, Revised in May 2020
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Economic Fluctuations and Growth, Health Economics, International Finance and Macroeconomics, International Trade and Investment, Monetary Economics

Using tools described in our earlier work (Hassan et al., 2019, 2020), we develop text-based measures of the costs, benefits, and risks listed firms in the US and over 80 other countries associate with the spread of Covid-19 and other epidemic diseases. We identify which firms expect to gain or lose from an epidemic disease and which are most affected by the associated uncertainty as a disease spreads in a region or around the world. As Covid-19 spread globally in the first quarter of 2020, firms' primary concerns relate to the collapse of demand, increased uncertainty, and disruption in supply chains. Other important concerns relate to capacity reductions, closures, and employee welfare. Financing concerns were mentioned relatively rarely in the first quarter but appear to become a more important concern in the second quarter. We also identify some firms that foresee opportunities in new or disrupted markets due to the spread of the disease. Finally, we find some evidence that firms that have experience with SARS or H1N1 have more positive expectations about their ability to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26971

 
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