The COVID-19 Bailouts
34 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2020 Last revised: 2 Nov 2020
Date Written: May 29, 2020
We use hand-collected data to investigate the COVID-19 bailouts for all publicly listed US firms. The median tax rate is 4% for bailout firms and 16% for no-bailout firms. The bailouts are expensive when compared to past corporate income tax payments of the bailout firms. We compute the number of years a bailout recipient has to pay corporate income tax to generate as much tax revenue as it received in bailouts: 135.0 years for the Paycheck Protection Program and 267.9 years for the airline bailouts. We also document a dark side of the bailouts. For many firms, the bailouts appear to be a windfall. Numerous bailout recipients made risky financial decisions, so bailing them out might induce moral hazard. Moreover, lobbying expenditures positively predict the bailout likelihood and amount.
Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, bailouts, too-big-to-fail, moral hazard
JEL Classification: G32, G38, H81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation