Who and How Many Can Work From Home? Evidence From Task Descriptions
21 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2020 Last revised: 25 Jan 2021
Date Written: April 20, 2020
The Covid-19 crisis has forced great societal changes, including forcing many to work from home (WFH) in an effort to limit the spread of the disease. The ability to work from home has long been considered a perk, but we have few estimates of how many jobs are actually possible to be performed from home. This paper proposes a method to estimate the share of these jobs. For each occupation, we obtain a WFH friendly measure by asking respondents from Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to evaluate whether the corresponding tasks can be performed from home based on the descriptions from the International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008 (ISCO-08) standard. The share of WFH friendly jobs in an economy can then be estimated by combining these measures with the labor statistics on occupational employments. Using Norway as an illustrating example, we find that approximately 38\% of Norwegian jobs can be performed at home. The Norwegian results also suggest that the pandemic and the government’s attempts to mitigate this crisis may have a quite uneven impact on the working population. Those who are already disadvantaged are often less likely to have jobs that can be performed from home.
Keywords: COVID-19, Working from home, Job advertisements, Unconventional data, Norway
JEL Classification: D24, J22, J61, O30, R12, R32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation