IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An Analysis of Corona Pandemic-related Productivity Growth in Germany: Sectoral Aspects, Work-From-Home Perspectives and Digitalization Intensity


  • Alina Wilke

    (Europäisches Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (EIIW))

  • Paul J. J. Welfens

    (Europäisches Institut für Internationale Wirtschaftsbeziehungen (EIIW))


This paper considers labor productivity growth under the Corona pandemic setting in Germany in 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021 and thus is a complementary analysis to a study of Vries et al. (2021) which covers the US, France and the UK. Data from 63 industries is used within a shift-share analysis to analyze pure within-productivity growth in Germany, abstracting from reallocations of hours worked. Following the original approach of Vries et al. (2021), three taxonomies are applied to categorize industry-level data regarding similar types of activity (sector affiliation), working-from-home (WFH) intensity and digital intensity. We find that aggregate productivity growth in Germany was slightly negative in 2020, but saw a rather large positive growth in the second quarter of 2021. This is still true when looking at the pure-within industry productivity growth. The much-discussed hospitality and culture sector underwent only small within-productivity growth reductions. Most changes of within-productivity growth during 2020 and 2021 can be observed in the manufacturing sector. Even though high WFH industries performed better during 2020 in terms of within-industry productivity growth, the difference to medium- and low-WFH industries was very small. In the second quarter of 2021 both medium and low WFH industries outperformed high WFH industries. Above average digital-intensive industries showed higher within-industry productivity growth than below average digital-intensive industries at the beginning of the pandemic. However, below average digital-intensive industries caught up during the first two quarters of 2021. For almost all industries, rather large within-industry productivity growth can be observed in the second quarter of 2021.

Suggested Citation

  • Alina Wilke & Paul J. J. Welfens, 2022. "An Analysis of Corona Pandemic-related Productivity Growth in Germany: Sectoral Aspects, Work-From-Home Perspectives and Digitalization Intensity," EIIW Discussion paper disbei313, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwu:eiiwdp:disbei313

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alexander Bick & Adam Blandin & Karel Mertens, 2023. "Work from Home before and after the COVID-19 Outbreak," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 1-39, October.
    2. Paul Welfens & Jens Perret, 2014. "Information & communication technology and true real GDP: economic analysis and findings for selected countries," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 5-27, February.
    3. Bart van Ark & Robert Inklaar & Robert H. McGuckin, 2003. "ICT and Productivity in Europe and the United States Where Do the Differences Come From?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(3), pages 295-318.
    4. Alipour, Jean-Victor & Falck, Oliver & Schüller, Simone, 2020. "Germany's Capacities to Work from Home," IZA Discussion Papers 13152, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Schneider, Friedrich, 2012. "The Shadow Economy and Work in the Shadow: What Do We (Not) Know?," IZA Discussion Papers 6423, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. van Ark, Bart & de Vries, Klaas & Erumban, Abdul, 2021. "How To Not Miss A Productivity Revival Once Again," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 255, pages 9-24, February.
    7. Raquel Ortega‐Argilés & Mariacristina Piva & Marco Vivarelli, 2014. "The transatlantic productivity gap: Is R&D the main culprit?," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 47(4), pages 1342-1371, November.
    8. Gabler, Janos & Raabe, Tobias & Röhrl, Klara & Gaudecker, Hans-Martin von, 2021. "Der Effekt von Homeoffice auf die Entwicklung der Covid-19-Pandemie in Deutschland," IZA Standpunkte 100, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Schneider, Friedrich, 2014. "The Shadow Economy and Shadow Labor Force: A Survey of Recent Developments," IZA Discussion Papers 8278, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Alipour, Jean-Victor & Falck, Oliver & Schüller, Simone, 2023. "Germany’s capacity to work from home," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    11. Bart van Ark & Mary O'Mahoney & Marcel P. Timmer, 2008. "The Productivity Gap between Europe and the United States: Trends and Causes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 25-44, Winter.
    12. Bart van Ark & Klaas de Vries & Abdul Erumban, 2019. "Productivity & Innovation Competencies in the Midst of the Digital Transformation Age: A EU-US Comparison," European Economy - Discussion Papers 119, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    13. David Pichler & Robert Stehrer, 2021. "Breaking Through the Digital Ceiling: ICT Skills and Labour Market Opportunities," wiiw Working Papers 193, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Hansen, Stephen & Lambert, Peter John & Bloom, Nicholas & Davis, Steven J. & Sadun, Raffaella & Taska, Bledi, 2023. "Remote Work across Jobs, Companies, and Space," IZA Discussion Papers 15980, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Adina-Maria IORGANDA (VODA) & Monica ROMAN, 2020. "Work From Home By Occupation In Romania: Initial Assesment In The Context Of Covid-19 Pandemic," Proceedings of the INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(1), pages 811-820, November.
    3. Gottlieb, Charles & Grobovšek, Jan & Poschke, Markus & Saltiel, Fernando, 2021. "Working from home in developing countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    4. Bamieh, Omar & Ziegler, Lennart, 2022. "Are remote work options the new standard? Evidence from vacancy postings during the COVID-19 crisis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    5. Erdsiek, Daniel, 2021. "Working from home during COVID-19 and beyond: Survey evidence from employers," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-051, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    6. Eisfeld, Rupert-Klaas & Heinemann, Ann-Kathrin & Just, Tobias & Quitzau, Jörn, . "Büroimmobilien nach Corona - Eine Szenarienanalyse," Beiträge zur Immobilienwirtschaft, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics, number 27, August.
    7. Friedrich Schneider & Mangirdas Morkunas & Erika Quendler, 2021. "Measuring the Immeasurable: The Evolution of the Size of Informal Economy in the Agricultural Sector in the EU-15 up to 2019," CESifo Working Paper Series 8937, CESifo.
    8. Michael Christl & Silvia Poli & Tine Hufkens & Andreas Peichl & Mattia Ricci, 2023. "The role of short-time work and discretionary policy measures in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 30(4), pages 1107-1136, August.
    9. Abel Brodeur & David Gray & Anik Islam & Suraiya Bhuiyan, 2021. "A literature review of the economics of COVID‐19," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 1007-1044, September.
    10. Marz, Waldemar & Şen, Suphi, 2022. "Does telecommuting reduce commuting emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    11. Aboal D. & Tacsir E., 2015. "Innovation and productivity in services and manufacturing : The role of ICT investment," MERIT Working Papers 2015-012, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    12. Alipour, Jean-Victor & Fadinger, Harald & Schymik, Jan, 2021. "My home is my castle – The benefits of working from home during a pandemic crisis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    13. Holgersen, Henning & Jia, Zhiyang & Svenkerud, Simen, 2021. "Who and how many can work from home? Evidence from task descriptions," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 55, pages 1-4.
    14. Pietro Moncada-Paternò-Castello & Sara Amoroso & Michele Cincera, 0. "Corporate R&D intensity decomposition: different data, different results?," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 458-473.
    15. Mounir Dahmani & Mohamed Mabrouki & Adel Ben Youssef, 2022. "The Information and Communication Technologies-Economic Growth Nexus in Tunisia - A Cross-Section Dynamic Panel Approach," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 18(2), pages 161-174.
    16. Łukasz Arendt, 2016. "Paradoks Solowa i determinanty wdrożenia technologii informacyjnych i telekomunikacyjnych," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 1, pages 29-53.
    17. Ludivine Martin & Laetitia Hauret & Chantal Fuhrer, 2022. "Digitally transformed home office impacts on job satisfaction, job stress and job productivity. COVID-19 findings," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 17(3), pages 1-23, March.
    18. Ahlers, Elke & Mierich, Sandra & Zucco, Aline, 2021. "Homeoffice: Was wir aus der Zeit der Pandemie für die zukünftige Gestaltung von Homeoffice lernen können," WSI Reports 65, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans Böckler Foundation.
    19. Pouliakas, Konstantinos, 2020. "Working at Home in Greece: Unexplored Potential at Times of Social Distancing?," IZA Discussion Papers 13408, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Davide Castellani & Mariacristina Piva & Torben Schubert & Marco Vivarelli, 2018. "The source of the US /EU Productivity Gap:Less and less effective R&D," LEM Papers Series 2018/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

    More about this item


    Productivity; Covid-19 pandemic; labor reallocation; digitalization; work-from-home; shift-share analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:bwu:eiiwdp:disbei313. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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: Frank Hoffmann (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. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.