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Working from Home Around the World


  • Cevat Giray Aksoy

    (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and King's College London)

  • Jose Maria Barrero

    (Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico)

  • Nicholas Bloom

    (Stanford University)

  • Steven J. Davis

    (University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Hoover Institution)

  • Mathias Dolls

    (ifo Institute)

  • Pablo Zarate

    (Princeton University)


The pandemic triggered a large, lasting shift to work from home (WFH). To study this shift, we survey full-time workers who finished primary school in twenty-seven countries as of mid-2021 and early 2022. Our crosscountry comparisons control for age, gender, education, and industry and treat the United States mean as the baseline. We find, first, that WFH averages 1.5 days per week in our sample, ranging widely across countries. Second, employers plan an average of 0.7 WFH days per week after the pandemic, but workers want 1.7 days. Third, employees value the option to WFH two to three days per week at 5 percent of pay, on average, with higher valuations for women, people with children, and those with longer commutes. Fourth, most employees were favorably surprised by their WFH productivity during the pandemic. Fifth, looking across individuals, employer plans for WFH levels after the pandemic rise strongly with WFH productivity surprises during the pandemic. Sixth, looking across countries, planned WFH levels rise with the cumulative stringency of government-mandated lockdowns during the pandemic. We draw on these results to explain the big shift to WFH and to consider some implications for workers, organization, cities, and the pace of innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Cevat Giray Aksoy & Jose Maria Barrero & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis & Mathias Dolls & Pablo Zarate, 2022. "Working from Home Around the World," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 53(2 (Fall)), pages 281-360.
  • Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:53:y:2022:i:2022-02:p:281-360

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    macroeconomics; remote work; COVID-19; labor force;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production


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