Discussion paper

DP16885 Technology and Resilience

This paper estimates the impact of technology sophistication pre-COVID-19 on the performance of firms during the early stages of the pandemic. We exploit a unique data covering firms from Brazil, Senegal, and Vietnam using a treatment effect mediation framework to decompose the results into a direct and an indirect effect. Increasing pre-pandemic technology sophistication by one standard deviation is associated with 3.8pp higher sales. Both effects are positive, but the direct effect is about 5 times larger than the indirect effect. The total effect on sales is markedly nonlinear with significantly smaller estimates of the reduction in sales for firms with more sophisticated pre-pandemic technology. Our results are robust to different measures of digital responses and matching estimators.


Cirera, X, D Comin, M Cruz, K Lee and J Torres (eds) (2022), “DP16885 Technology and Resilience”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 16885. https://cepr.org/publications/dp16885