Away from Home and Back: Coordinating (Remote) Workers in 1800 and 2020

18 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2020 Last revised: 14 May 2021

See all articles by Réka Juhász

Réka Juhász

Columbia University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Mara Squicciarini

Bocconi University

Nico Voigtländer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2020

Abstract

We examine the future of remote work by drawing parallels between two contexts: The move from home to factory-based production during the Industrial Revolution and the shift to work from home today. In both cases, new technology induced new working arrangements, and this shift was associated with a similar trade-off in the past as it is today: productivity advantages and cost savings versus organizational barriers such as coordinating workers under the new workplace arrangement. Using contemporary data, we show that the COVID-19 pandemic moved even sectors with high organizational barriers to working from home. Without further technological or organizational innovations, this shift is likely to be reversed, and remote work may not be here to stay just yet.

JEL Classification: F63, O14

Suggested Citation

Juhász, Réka and Squicciarini, Mara and Voigtländer, Nico, Away from Home and Back: Coordinating (Remote) Workers in 1800 and 2020 (December 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15578, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3753983

Réka Juhász (Contact Author)

Columbia University

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Mara Squicciarini

Bocconi University ( email )

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Italy

Nico Voigtländer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/nico.v/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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