Germany's Capacities to Work from Home

39 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2020

See all articles by JV Alipour

JV Alipour

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Oliver Falck

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation

Simone Schüller

German Youth Institute DJI

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 30, 2020

Abstract

We propose an index of working from home (WFH) capacity for the German economy, drawing on rich survey and administrative data. We find that 56 percent of jobs are WFH feasible, most of which are located in urban areas and in highly digitized industries. Using individual-level data on tasks and work conditions, we show that heterogeneity in WFH feasibility is largely explained by differences in task content. WFH feasible jobs are typically characterized by cognitive, non-manual tasks, and PC usage. We compare our survey-based measure with popular task-based measures of WFH capacity, which usually rely on determining tasks that are incompatible with WFH, and show that task-based approaches capture variation in WFH capacity across occupations quite accurately. Finally, we demonstrate that our WFH index constitutes a strong predictor of actual WFH outcomes during the Covid-19 crisis and discuss applications in the context of the pandemic and the future of work.

Keywords: COVID-19, working from home; Germany

JEL Classification: D240, J220, J240, O330, R120

Suggested Citation

Alipour, Jean-Victor and Falck, Oliver and Schüller, Simone, Germany's Capacities to Work from Home (July 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3578262 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3578262

Jean-Victor Alipour (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Oliver Falck

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Department Human Capital and Innovation ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich, 81679
Germany

Simone Schüller

German Youth Institute DJI ( email )

Nockherstrasse 2 2
Munich, 81541
Germany

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