IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The impact of labour market disruptions and transport choice on the environment during COVID-19


  • Crowley, Frank
  • Daly, Hannah
  • Doran, Justin
  • Ryan, Geraldine
  • Caulfield, Brian


Since late 2019, COVID-19 has devastated the global economy, with indirect implications for the environment. As governments’ prioritized health and implemented measures such as the closure of non-essential businesses and social distancing, many workers have lost their jobs, been furloughed, or started working from home. Consequently, the world of work has drastically transformed and this period is likely to have major implications for mobility, transportation and the environment. This paper estimates the potential for people to engage in remote work and social distancing using O*NET data and Irish Census data and calculates the potential emission savings, by commuter type from a switch to remote working and occupational social distancing. The results show that while those who commute by car have a relatively high potential for remote work, they are less likely to be able to engage in social distancing in their workplace. While this may be negative for employment prospects in the short run, our analysis indicates that this pattern has the potential for positive environmental implications in the short and long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Crowley, Frank & Daly, Hannah & Doran, Justin & Ryan, Geraldine & Caulfield, Brian, 2021. "The impact of labour market disruptions and transport choice on the environment during COVID-19," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 185-195.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:106:y:2021:i:c:p:185-195
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2021.04.008

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Teresa Barbieri & Gaetano Basso & Sergio Scicchitano, 2022. "Italian Workers at Risk During the COVID-19 Epidemic," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 8(1), pages 175-195, March.
    2. Simon Mongey & Laura Pilossoph & Alexander Weinberg, 2021. "Which workers bear the burden of social distancing?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(3), pages 509-526, September.
    3. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/5cmk499mce8lvosvi0jdis0dla is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dingel, Jonathan I. & Neiman, Brent, 2020. "How many jobs can be done at home?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    5. Adams-Prassl, Abi & Boneva, Teodora & Golin, Marta & Rauh, Christopher, 2020. "Inequality in the impact of the coronavirus shock: Evidence from real time surveys," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    6. Jason Hickel & Giorgos Kallis, 2020. "Is Green Growth Possible?," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(4), pages 469-486, June.
    7. Guillermo Gallacher & Iqbal Hossain, 2020. "Remote Work and Employment Dynamics under COVID-19: Evidence from Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 46(S1), pages 44-54, July.
    8. Adams-Prassl, A. & Boneva, T. & Golin, M & Rauh, C., 2020. "Inequality in the Impact of the Coronavirus Shock: New Survey Evidence for the UK," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 2023, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Erik Brynjolfsson & John J. Horton & Adam Ozimek & Daniel Rock & Garima Sharma & Hong-Yi TuYe, 2020. "COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Early Look at US Data," NBER Working Papers 27344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Martial Foucault & Vincenzo Galasso, 2020. "Working After Covid-19: Cross-Country Evidence from Real-Time Survey Data," Sciences Po publications 9, Sciences Po.
    11. Frey, Carl Benedikt & Osborne, Michael A., 2017. "The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 254-280.
    12. Molloy, Joseph & Schatzmann, Thomas & Schoeman, Beaumont & Tchervenkov, Christopher & Hintermann, Beat & Axhausen, Kay W., 2021. "Observed impacts of the Covid-19 first wave on travel behaviour in Switzerland based on a large GPS panel," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 43-51.
    13. Dieter Helm, 2020. "The Environmental Impacts of the Coronavirus," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(1), pages 21-38, May.
    14. O'Keefe, Paul & Caulfield, Brian & Brazil, William & White, Peter, 2016. "The impacts of telecommuting in Dublin," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 13-20.
    15. Alfredo Aloi & Borja Alonso & Juan Benavente & Rubén Cordera & Eneko Echániz & Felipe González & Claudio Ladisa & Raquel Lezama-Romanelli & Álvaro López-Parra & Vittorio Mazzei & Lucía Perrucci & Darí, 2020. "Effects of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Urban Mobility: Empirical Evidence from the City of Santander (Spain)," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(9), pages 1-18, May.
    16. Michael Hynes, 2014. "Telework Isn’t Working: A Policy Review," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 45(4), pages 579-602.
    17. Charles Gottlieb & Jan Grobovsek & Markus Poschke, 2020. "Working from Home across Countries," Cahiers de recherche 07-2020, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    18. Sangho Choo & Patricia Mokhtarian & Ilan Salomon, 2005. "Does telecommuting reduce vehicle-miles traveled? An aggregate time series analysis for the U.S," Transportation, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 37-64, January.
    19. Miklós Koren & Rita Pető, 2020. "Business disruptions from social distancing," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(9), pages 1-14, September.
    20. Laura Montenovo & Xuan Jiang & Felipe Lozano Rojas & Ian M. Schmutte & Kosali I. Simon & Bruce A. Weinberg & Coady Wing, 2020. "Determinants of Disparities in Covid-19 Job Losses," NBER Working Papers 27132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Fu, Miao & Andrew Kelly, J. & Peter Clinch, J. & King, Fearghal, 2012. "Environmental policy implications of working from home: Modelling the impacts of land-use, infrastructure and socio-demographics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 416-423.
    22. Zhang, Junyi & Hayashi, Yoshitsugu & Frank, Lawrence D., 2021. "COVID-19 and transport: Findings from a world-wide expert survey," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 68-85.
    23. Gaskin, Darrell J. & Zare, Hossein & Delarmente, Benjo A., 2021. "Geographic disparities in COVID-19 infections and deaths: The role of transportation," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 35-46.
    24. Frei, Charlotte & Mahmassani, Hani S. & Frei, Andreas, 2015. "Making time count: Traveler activity engagement on urban transit," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 58-70.
    25. Redmond, Paul & McGuinness, Seamus, 2020. "Who can work from home in Ireland?," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number SUSTAT87, March.
    26. Zhang, Yahua & Zhang, Anming & Wang, Jiaoe, 2020. "Exploring the roles of high-speed train, air and coach services in the spread of COVID-19 in China," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 34-42.
    27. Crowley, Frank & Doran, Justin, 2019. "Automation and Irish Towns: Who's Most at Risk?," SRERC Working Paper Series SRERCWP2019-1, University College Cork (UCC), Spatial and Regional Economic Research Centre (SRERC).
    28. Clark, Ben & Chatterjee, Kiron & Melia, Steve, 2016. "Changes to commute mode: The role of life events, spatial context and environmental attitude," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 89-105.
    29. Lewandowski, Piotr, 2020. "Occupational Exposure to Contagion and the Spread of COVID-19 in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 13227, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    30. Delaporte, Isaure & Peña, Werner, 2020. "Working From Home Under COVID-19: Who Is Affected? Evidence From Latin American and Caribbean Countries," GLO Discussion Paper Series 528, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    31. O’ Mahony, Tadhg & Zhou, Peng & Sweeney, John, 2012. "The driving forces of change in energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland: A multi-sectoral decomposition from 1990 to 2007," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 256-267.
    32. Cerqueti, Roy & Correani, Luca & Garofalo, Giuseppe, 2013. "Economic interactions and social tolerance: A dynamic perspective," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 458-463.
    33. Per Block & Marion Hoffman & Isabel J. Raabe & Jennifer Beam Dowd & Charles Rahal & Ridhi Kashyap & Melinda C. Mills, 2020. "Social network-based distancing strategies to flatten the COVID-19 curve in a post-lockdown world," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 4(6), pages 588-596, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. O'Driscoll, Conor & Crowley, Frank & Doran, Justin & McCarthy, Nóirín, 2022. "Retail sprawl and CO2 emissions: Retail centres in Irish cities," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Crowley, Frank & Daly, Hannah & Doran, Justin & Ryan, Geraldine, 2020. "COVID-19, social distancing, remote work and transport choice," SRERC Working Paper Series SRERCWP2020-4, University College Cork (UCC), Spatial and Regional Economic Research Centre (SRERC).
    2. Crowley, Frank & Doran, Justin & Ryan, Geraldine, 2020. "The impact of Covid-19 restrictions on workers: Who is most exposed?," SRERC Working Paper Series SRERCWP2020-3, University College Cork (UCC), Spatial and Regional Economic Research Centre (SRERC).
    3. Ainaa, Carmen & Brunetti, Irene & Mussida, Chiara & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2021. "Who lost the most? Distributive effects of COVID-19 pandemic," GLO Discussion Paper Series 829, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Luca Bonacini & Giovanni Gallo & Sergio Scicchitano, 2021. "Working from home and income inequality: risks of a ‘new normal’ with COVID-19," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 303-360, January.
    5. Isaure Delaporte & Julia Escobar & Werner Peña, 2021. "The distributional consequences of social distancing on poverty and labour income inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(4), pages 1385-1443, October.
    6. Gaetano Basso & Tito Boeri & Alessandro Caiumi & Marco Paccagnella, 2020. "The new hazardous jobs and worker reallocation," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 247, OECD Publishing.
    7. Hensvik, Lena & Le Barbanchon, Thomas & Rathelot, Roland, 2021. "Job search during the COVID-19 crisis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    8. Adams-Prassl, Abi & Boneva, Teodora & Golin, Marta & Rauh, Christopher, 2022. "Work that can be done from home: evidence on variation within and across occupations and industries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    9. Mauro Caselli & Andrea Fracasso & Sergio Scicchitano, 2020. "From the lockdown to the new normal: An analysis of the limitations to individual mobility in Italy following the Covid-19 crisis," Discussion Paper series in Regional Science & Economic Geography 2020-07, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Social Sciences, revised Oct 2020.
    10. Rebecca Brough & Matthew Freedman & David C. Phillips, 2021. "Understanding socioeconomic disparities in travel behavior during the COVID‐19 pandemic," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 753-774, September.
    11. Dingel, Jonathan I. & Neiman, Brent, 2020. "How many jobs can be done at home?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    12. Berniell, Lucila & Fernandez, Daniel, 2021. "Jobs’ amenability is not enough: The role of household inputs for safe work under social distancing in Latin American cities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    13. A. Cetrulo & D. Guarascio & M. E. Virgillito, 2022. "Working from home and the explosion of enduring divides: income, employment and safety risks," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 39(2), pages 345-402, July.
    14. Gottlieb, Charles & Grobovšek, Jan & Poschke, Markus & Saltiel, Fernando, 2021. "Working from home in developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    15. Bonacini, Luca & Gallo, Giovanni & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2020. "All that glitters is not gold. Effects of working from home on income inequality at the time of COVID-19," GLO Discussion Paper Series 541, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    16. Carbonero, Francesco & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2021. "Labour and technology at the time of Covid-19. Can artificial intelligence mitigate the need for proximity?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 765, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    17. Zarifhonarvar, Ali, 2022. "A Survey on the Impact of Covid-19 on the Labor Market," EconStor Preprints 265549, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    18. Cecilia Peluffo & Mariana Viollaz, 2021. "Intra-household exposure to labor market risk in the time of Covid-19: lessons from Mexico," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 327-351, June.
    19. Betcherman,Gordon & Giannakopoulos,Nicholas & Laliotis,Ioannis & Pantelaiou,Ioanna & Testaverde,Mauro & Tzimas,Giannis, 2020. "Reacting Quickly and Protecting Jobs : The Short-Term Impacts of the COVID-19 Lockdown on the Greek Labor Market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9356, The World Bank.
    20. Díaz, Carlos & Fossati, Sebastian & Trajtenberg, Nicolás, 2021. "Stay at Home if You Can: COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Guidelines and Local Crime," Working Papers 2021-8, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:106:y:2021:i:c:p:185-195. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.