Manju Puri

Indirect Costs of Government Aid and Intermediary Supply Effects: Lessons From the Paycheck Protection Program

The $669 billion Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provides highly subsidized financing to small businesses. The PPP is a positive shock in financing supply to the small, highly constrained publicly listed firms in our sample and has average positive treatment effects. Yet, uptake is not universal. In fact, several firms return PPP funds before use, and curiously, experience positive valuation effects when they do so. These firms desire and the markets value the release from government oversight even if it means giving up cheap funding. The PPP is also a demand shock to the banks making PPP loans. Intermediary supply effects shape PPP delivery. Larger borrowers enjoy earlier PPP access, an effect that is more pronounced in big banks and does not seem mitigated by prior banking relationships. The results have implications for policy design, the costs of being public, and bank-firm relationships.