Business Sentiments during India’s National Lockdown: Lessons for Second and Potential Third Wave
15 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2020 Last revised: 23 Jun 2021
Date Written: June 28, 2020
The implementation of COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 in India provided a unique opportunity to capture real-time changes in business sentiments during episodes of unexpected and sudden disruptions. Using a logit-probability model to analyse data of this natural experiment showed that firms’ 6-months ahead sentiments for its financial condition worsened drastically during lockdown compared to firms surveyed immediately prior to the announcement. Further, smaller firms showed a relatively higher impact. We also find that firms perceive this as a relatively higher demand shock in terms of falling domestic sales post-lockdown whereas supply shocks are perceived to be on the downside. Lastly the mitigation strategy of firms involved reducing employment for unskilled workers and wages for skilled workers. This unique study gives insights not only about firms and their strategies but regarding appropriate policy choices during lockdown. The lessons are applicable for governments which imposed local lockdowns during the second wave and potential disruption for the expected third wave.
Keywords: business sentiments, expectations, COVID-19, lockdown, sales, employment, wages, meta-data, MSMEs
JEL Classification: E32, J21, J31
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