Statistical analysis of small business survival under the shock of multiple COVID-19 waves: A case study from Wuhan, China

Fan Li, Matteo Rubinato, Tao Zhou, Jiaye Li, Chen Chen

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The long-term viability of small businesses in the aftermath of multiple pandemics and consequent lockdowns has a crucial impact on the sustainable economic and social development of any region across the world. Thus, in order to investigate what has been the major impact of COVID-19 pandemic within local small businesses and to identify which main factors helped small businesses to survive none as well as multiple lockdowns, data were obtained from 382 small businesses in the main urban area of Wuhan, China, via two rounds of field investigations and surveys in July 2020 and July 2022. This paper presents the results of the field investigations and the surveys completed and describes the Bayesian methods applied to quantitatively explore the impact of different variables on the probability of each business to remain active and open even after experiencing none or multiple lockdowns. Results obtained show that the difference between survival rates associated with businesses hit by no pandemic outbreak with those hit by one or several waves is negligible. Furthermore, owners who had higher confidence in their abilities since the beginning or they implemented an accurate evaluation of their strategies to run their businesses since the start of the pandemic, demonstrated to have a higher probability to keep their business alive with none as well as additional waves of the pandemic. Reduction of employees, transition of operations and promotion activities online as well as rent subsidies and tax reduction were identified as crucial actions that enhanced the probability to maintain alive businesses that experienced at least one lockdown. Globally, there was no clear policy approach at the start of the pandemic, however this study clearly determines that in future governments should provide timely support to small businesses in regions experiencing more severe impacts of the pandemic, and this should consist of a mix of grants, loans, and temporary tax cuts since initial stages.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1092768
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Environmental Science
Early online date20 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 Li, Rubinato, Zhou, Li and Chen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


This research work is supported by the GuangDong Basic and
Applied Basic Research Foundation (No. 2022A1515110339, No.
2021A1515110768) and National Natural Science Foundation of
China (No. 52109079)


  • business
  • economy
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • probability
  • bayesian method
  • Wuhan China


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