The authors designed and conducted a firm-level survey on the use of COVID-19-related government programs, in collaboration with Tokyo Shoko Research, LTD (TSR). Combining the survey results with the financial statements of the respondent firms, the authors investigated the factors behind the allocation of various government programs. The authors find that firms that had low credit scores before the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to apply for and receive the subsidies and concessional loans offered by the Japanese government in 2020. Firms with low credit scores are not necessarily zombies, which are defined to be the firms that are non-viable but kept alive by assistance from creditors and/or government. The result suggests that the government assistance may have also subsidized some poorly performing firms that were not yet zombies before the pandemic.

About the Seminar Series

Financial market development goes hand-in-hand with economic growth. The development of China’s capital markets in terms of size, regulations, capability, and efficiency has been impressive. China may now even lead globally in some dimensions, notably e-payments systems. Yet, China’s capital markets are still a work-in-progress facing both generic and unique challenges. Other Asian capital markets have even greater uneven development. Some in advanced Asian economies have acquired globally acclaimed reputation and capabilities while various regulatory and structural weaknesses dwarf others. Corporations and investors have been inclined to arbitrage cross-border regulatory and developmental gaps; so the very uneven status of capital markets across Asia is a policy issue for the governments in the entire region and perhaps globally. Analyzing the positive and negative lessons in the functioning of Asia’s capital markets, and identifying reforms and applications of technology that could further improve Asian capital markets’ allocation efficiency, financial inclusion, and forewarning against reforms that might cause problems can benefit practitioners, policymakers and researchers, and can contribute significantly to overall prosperity.

The ABFER and the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute China (BFI-China), in collaboration with National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Department of Economics, CUHK-Shenzhen and Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance (Tsinghua PBCSF), hope to provide a virtual network to benefit researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from Asia and beyond.

All times are listed in Central Standard Time. A unique Zoom webinar link will be sent to you two days before the event. 

Session Format

Each session lasts for an hour (30 minutes for the author, 15 minutes for the discussion, 15 minutes for participants’ Q&A).


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Zombies, Again? The COVID-19 Business Support Programs in Japan


Takeo Hoshi, Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo and Senior Fellow, ABFER

Discussant: Yingyi Qian, Professor, Department of Economics and Distinguished Professor of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Tsinghua University and Senior Fellow, ABFER

Session Chair: Bernard Yeung, Stephen Riady Distinguished Professor in Finance and Strategic Management, National University of Singapore and President, ABFER