Global Supply Chains in the Pandemic
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We study the role of global supply chains in the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on GDP growth for 64 countries. We discipline the labor supply shock across sectors and countries using the fraction of work in the sector that can be done from home, interacted with the stringency with which countries imposed lockdown measures. Using the quantitative framework and methods developed in Huo, Levchenko, and Pandalai-Nayar (2020), we show that the average real GDP downturn due to the Covid-19 shock is expected to be - 29:6%, with one quarter of the total due to transmission through global supply chains. However, "renationalization" of global supply chains does not in general make countries more resilient to pandemic-induced contractions in labor supply. The average GDP drop would have been - 30:2% in a world without trade in inputs and final goods. This is because eliminating reliance on foreign inputs increases reliance on the domestic inputs, which are also disrupted due to nationwide lockdowns. In fact, trade can insulate a country imposing a stringent lockdown from the pandemic-shock, as its foreign inputs are less disrupted than its domestic ones. Finally, unilateral lifting of the lockdowns in the largest economies can contribute as much as 2.5% to GDP growth in some of their smaller trade partners.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27224