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My home is my castle – The benefits of working from home during a pandemic crisis

Jean-Victor Alipour, Harald Fadinger and Jan Schymik ()

Journal of Public Economics, 2021, vol. 196, issue C

Abstract: This paper studies the impact of working from home (WFH) on work relations and public health during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. Combining administrative data on SARS-CoV-2 infections and short-time work registrations, firm- and employee-level surveys and cell phone tracking data on mobility patterns, we find that WFH effectively shields employees from short-time work, firms from COVID-19 distress and substantially reduces infection risks. Counties with a higher share of teleworkable jobs experience fewer short-time work registrations and less SARS-CoV-2 cases. At the firm level, an exogenous increase in the take-up of WFH reduces the probability of filing for short-time work by up to 72 p.p. and the probability of being very negatively affected by the crisis by up to 75 p.p. Health benefits of WFH appeared mostly in the early stage of the pandemic and became smaller once tight confinement rules were implemented. This effect was driven by lower initial mobility levels in counties with more teleworkable jobs and a subsequent convergence in traffic levels once confinement was implemented. Our results imply that confinement and incentivizing WFH are substitutive policies to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Working from home; Labor supply shock; Infections; Mitigation; BIBB-BAuA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H12 I18 J22 J68 R12 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2021.104373

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