Productivity and the Pandemic
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Productivity and the Pandemic

Challenges and Insights from Covid-19

Edited by Philip McCann and Tim Vorley

This forward-thinking book examines the potential impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on productivity. Productivity and the Pandemic features 21 chapters authored by 46 experts, examining different aspects of how the pandemic is likely to impact on the economy, society and governance in the medium- and long-term. Drawing on a range of empirical evidence, analytical arguments and new conceptual insights, the book challenges our thinking on many dimensions. With a keen focus on place, firms, production factors and institutions, the chapters highlight how the pre-existing challenges to productivity have been variously exacerbated and mitigated by the pandemic and points out ways forward for appropriate policy thinking in response to the crisis.
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Chapter 4: Implications and impacts of the crisis on micro businesses and their future

Andrew Henley, Tim Vorley and Cristian Gherhes

Abstract

Small businesses are widely regarded as an important aspect of the productivity puzzle in the UK, representing over 98% of the business base. However, the diversity of small businesses means that supporting sole-traders and micro-businesses is not straightforward - a fact borne out in small business policy over the past three decades. The chapter will review emerging evidence and insights as to the impact of Covid-19 on the activity of sole-traders and micro-businesses, before discussing the appropriateness of the Government's response. As businesses rework their business models there remain questions concerning their survival and resilience, the implications of which will shape the economic recovery and prospect of any future productivity gains (or not). The chapter discusses the potential shake-out of the “long-tail” or “reluctant” self-employed, the differential outlook facing 'tradeable' and 'non-tradable' businesses, and implications of supply chain breakdown as key challenges facing micro businesses. Finally, we conclude with some thoughts on why productivity will still matter and remain salient, whether the term remains in favour or not.

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