Who and How Many Can Work From Home? Evidence From Task Descriptions

21 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2020 Last revised: 25 Jan 2021

See all articles by Henning Holgersen

Henning Holgersen

Statistics Norway

Zhiyang Jia

Statistics Norway - Research Department

Simen Svenkerud

Statistics Norway

Date Written: April 20, 2020

Abstract

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

Holgersen, Henning and Jia, Zhiyang and Svenkerud, Simen, Who and How Many Can Work From Home? Evidence From Task Descriptions (April 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3580674 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3580674

Henning Holgersen

Statistics Norway ( email )

N-0033 Oslo
Norway

Zhiyang Jia (Contact Author)

Statistics Norway - Research Department ( email )

Kongens Gt. 6
PO Box 8131 Dep
N-0033 Oslo
Norway

Simen Svenkerud

Statistics Norway ( email )

N-0033 Oslo
Norway

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