Home office: Causal Evidence on Selection and Location Effects from Telecommuting

31 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2017 Last revised: 7 Jul 2020

See all articles by Alexander Brueggen

Alexander Brueggen

Maastricht University

Christoph Feichter

WU Vienna University of Economics and Business

Katlijn Haesebrouck

Maastricht University

Date Written: July 3, 2020

Abstract

The practice of telecommuting has increased during recent years; however, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated its development even further. Despite various opinions on telecommuting, many companies struggle to establish long-term telecommuting policies; additionally, causal evidence on its implications for companies is largely missing. In a web-based experiment designed to distinguish between selection and pure location effects, we find that individuals who prefer to telecommute have different personality characteristics than those who prefer the workplace (e.g., risk preferences, agreeableness). Moreover, while we do not find a difference in the effort that individuals expend while at the workplace versus while telecommuting, the results indicate that they are less honest when working at home. This reduced honesty can be fully explained by a selection effect, namely, that individuals who are less honest prefer to telecommute. Overall, we provide evidence that telecommuting has important implications for the type of employees that companies attract and retain, but the location itself (home versus workplace) does not affect individuals’ behavior.

Keywords: Telecommuting, selection effect, personality traits, effort, honesty

Suggested Citation

Brueggen, Alexander and Feichter, Christoph and Haesebrouck, Katlijn, Home office: Causal Evidence on Selection and Location Effects from Telecommuting (July 3, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3020221 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3020221

Alexander Brueggen (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Christoph Feichter

WU Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1, Building D1, 3rd Floor
Vienna, 1020
Austria

Katlijn Haesebrouck

Maastricht University ( email )

Netherlands

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
497
Abstract Views
2,038
rank
62,529
PlumX Metrics