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How reducing documentation burdens impacts equity in access to small business COVID-19 relief funding

Bell, Elizabeth, Kappes, Heather Barry ORCID: 0000-0002-6335-3888 and Williams, Miles (2023) How reducing documentation burdens impacts equity in access to small business COVID-19 relief funding. Public Administration Review. ISSN 0033-3352

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Identification Number: 10.1111/puar.13722


Scholars have unveiled how and why administrative burdens perpetuate inequity in access to government benefits. However, less is known about the tools public managers can use to reduce burdens and disparities in program access. We partner with a local government in the U.S. to investigate whether a reduction in documentation requirements increased equity by promoting access for “underserved” small business owners (i.e. racial/ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities, and veterans). Specifically, we analyze outcomes for more than 8,500 businesses in a COVID-19 small business relief fund before and after a reduction in documentation requirements. Utilizing an interrupted time series design, we find increased application success for underserved small businesses, but other applicants benefitted more from the program change, calling into question whether the policy change advanced equity. Our findings suggest that even well-intentioned interventions can perpetuate disparity if targeted supports for marginalized communities are not implemented.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 American Society for Public Administration
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2023 13:57
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2024 17:30

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