Storm survivors: Evidence from firms in times of pandemic

Amirah El-Haddad and Chahir Zakib
DOI number

#The Middle East and North Africa
Additional info: The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development

The COVID-19 outbreak has had severe economic consequences across the globe. The crisis emanating from the pandemic has caused demand and supply side shocks, more far reaching than any crisis in living memory. We use a new data set from the 2020/21 Egyptian Industrial Firm Behavior Survey to examine determinants of firms’ resilience during the pandemic. Crisis present the opportunity for what Schumpeter (In Economics of the Recovery Program, McGraw-Hill, 1934) calls creative destruction. Have manufacturing firms been all hit by the crisis equally, or were less efficient firms more likely to exit or downsize their activities thereby ‘cleansing’ the market? Two sets of factors affect firm dynamics and survival: (1) firms’ innate characteristics and; (2) firm behavior, which captures the extent to which good management, innovation, the adoption of advanced technologies and worker training, have provided an opportunity for firms to adapt their business models and show greater resilience in coping with the crisis. We illustrate the vulnerability of private, smaller, informal firms and those that are not located in industrial zones. Second, pre-COVID behavioral characteristics matter for firm dynamics. The food sector and sectors identified as ‘COVID sectors’ show more resilience. Some behavioral traits vary by sector and are more influential depending on firm size.


Amirah El-Haddad

German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)

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