Global Value Chain Disruptions and Firm Survival During COVID-19: An Empirical Investigation
Despite the rapid acceleration of countries participating in global value chains (GVCs) over the last three decades, global GVC participation rates have plateaued since the global financial crisis (GFC) and worsened with the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The massive supply chain disruptions induced by the pandemic not only appeared to expose the vulnerabilities of GVCs, largely because of concentration risks, but also contributed to a dramatic decline in trade flows globally. As countries around the world emerge from the shadows of the pandemic, there is growing academic and policy interest in deciphering how countries should build effective strategies that facilitate firm survival, especially viewed from the lens of resilience and robustness. Considering this background, in this paper, we propose to make a twofold contribution to this literature. First, we undertake a comprehensive firm-level investigation (in a cross-country setting) to ascertain whether firms engaged in GVCs relative to non-GVC firms exhibited better survival instincts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, we uncover the heterogeneity of the shock across sectors and industries, considering the varied sectoral/industrial exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic. We document that GVC firms showcased greater robustness and resilience during the pandemic phase compared with other firms. Our results also show that the degree of resilience and robustness varies significantly by industry.