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My Home Is my Castle – The Benefits of Working from Home During a Pandemic Crisis Evidence from Germany

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  • Jean-Victor Alipour
  • Harald Fadinger
  • Jan Schymik

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 SARSCoV-2 infections and short-time work registrations, firm- and employee-level surveys and cell phone tracking data on mobility patterns, we find that working from home 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.

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  • Jean-Victor Alipour & Harald Fadinger & Jan Schymik, 2020. "My Home Is my Castle – The Benefits of Working from Home During a Pandemic Crisis Evidence from Germany," ifo Working Paper Series 329, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_329
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    3. Samare P. I. Huls & Ayesha Sajjad & Tim A. Kanters & Leona Hakkaart-van Roijen & Werner B. F. Brouwer & Job Exel, 2022. "Productivity of Working at Home and Time Allocation Between Paid Work, Unpaid Work and Leisure Activities During a Pandemic," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 77-90, January.
    4. Gianni De Fraja & Jesse Matheson & James Rockey, 2020. "Zoomshock: The geography and local labour market consequences of working from home," Discussion Papers 20-31, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    5. Fuchs, Michaela & Otto, Anne & Fritzsche, Birgit, 2021. "Systemrelevante Berufe und das Potenzial für Homeoffice: Eine geschlechtsspezifische Bestandsaufnahme für Sachsen-Anhalt," IAB-Regional. Berichte und Analysen aus dem Regionalen Forschungsnetz. IAB Sachsen-Anhalt-Thüringen 202102, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    6. Eisfeld, Rupert-Klaas & Just, Tobias, . "Die Auswirkungen der COVID-19-Pandemie auf die deutschen Wohnungsmärkte. Eine Studie im Auftrag der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung," Beiträge zur Immobilienwirtschaft, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics, number 26, December.
    7. Plößl, Franziska & Just, Tobias, . "Was wissen wir über Assetklassen? Zwischen den Zeilen: Textanalyse als Instrument der Konjunkturanalyse," Beiträge zur Immobilienwirtschaft, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics, number 29, December.
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    9. Tavares, Aida Isabel, 2021. "Working more and less hours, profiling old European workers during first wave of COVID-19 pandemic, evidence from SHARE data," MPRA Paper 111263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2021. "Productivity of Working from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from a Firm Survey," Discussion papers 21002, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    11. Ben Yahmed, Sarra & Cappellari, Lorenzo & Checchi, Daniele & Corak, Miles & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Neidhöfer, Guido & Tertilt, Michele & Tommasi, Mariano, 2020. "COVID-19 and inequality," ZEW policy briefs 5/2020, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    12. Otto, Anne & Fuchs, Michaela & Wydra-Somaggio, Gabriele & Stabler, Jochen, 2021. "Systemrelevante Berufe und das Potenzial für Homeoffice: Eine geschlechtsspezifische Bestandsaufnahme für Rheinland-Pfalz," IAB-Regional. Berichte und Analysen aus dem Regionalen Forschungsnetz. IAB Rheinland-Pfalz-Saarland 202102, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    13. Jean-Victor Alipour & Oliver Falck & Simone Schüller, 2020. "Homeoffice während der Pandemie und die Implikationen für eine Zeit nach der Krise," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 73(07), pages 30-36, July.
    14. Wohlrabe, Klaus & Rathje, Ann-Christin & Rumscheidt, Sabine & Boumans, Dorine & Hannich, Ute & Heinemann, Friedrich & Birkholz, Carlo & Nover, Justus, 2020. "Die Widerstandsfähigkeit der deutschen Wirtschaft in der Corona-Pandemie: Jahresmonitor der Stiftung Familienunternehmen," Studien, Stiftung Familienunternehmen / Foundation for Family Businesses, number 250011, November.
    15. Marion Leroutier & Philippe Quirion, 2021. "Tackling Transport-Induced Pollution in Cities: A case Study in Paris," Working Papers 2021.07, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    16. Katrin Demmelhuber & Florian Englmaier & Felix Leiss & Sascha Möhrle & Andreas Peichl & Theresa Schröter, 2020. "Homeoffice vor und nach Corona: Auswirkungen und Geschlechterbetroffenheit," ifo Schnelldienst Digital, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(14), November.
    17. Fleming, Jenny & Brown, Jennifer, 2021. "Policewomen's experiences of working during lockdown: results of a survey with officers from England and Wales," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 112714, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2020. "Productivity of Working from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from an Employee Survey," Discussion papers 20073, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    19. Fuchs, Michaela & Otto, Anne & Fritzsche, Birgit, 2021. "Systemrelevante Berufe und das Potenzial für Homeoffice: Eine geschlechtsspezifische Bestandsaufnahme für Thüringen," IAB-Regional. Berichte und Analysen aus dem Regionalen Forschungsnetz. IAB Sachsen-Anhalt-Thüringen 202101, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    20. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2021. "Work-from-Home Productivity during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Surveys of Employees and Employers," SSPJ Discussion Paper Series DP20-007, Service Sector Productivity in Japan: Determinants and Policies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    21. Otto, Anne & Fuchs, Michaela & Stabler, Jochen, 2021. "Systemrelevante Berufe und das Potenzial für Homeoffice: Eine geschlechtsspezifische Bestandsaufnahme für das Saarland," IAB-Regional. Berichte und Analysen aus dem Regionalen Forschungsnetz. IAB Rheinland-Pfalz-Saarland 202101, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    22. Laroze, Denise & Neumayer, Eric & Plümper, Thomas, 2021. "COVID-19 does not stop at open borders: Spatial contagion among local authority districts during England's first wave," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 270(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; working from home; labor supply shock; infections; mitigation; BIBB-BAuA;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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