No. 24: Firm-Level Exposure to Epidemic Diseases: Covid-19, SARS, and H1N1


Using tools described in our earlier work (Hassan et al., 2019, 2020), we develop textbased 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 spreads globally in the first quarter of 2020, we find that 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. By contrast, financing concerns are mentioned relatively rarely. 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.

Participating Institutions

TRR 266‘s main locations are Paderborn University (Coordinating University), HU Berlin, and University of Mannheim. All three locations have been centers for accounting and tax research for many years. They are joined by researchers from LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, European School of Management and Technology in Berlin and Goethe University Frankfurt who share the same research agenda.