Working Remotely and the Supply-Side Impact of COVID-19

63 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020 Last revised: 27 Jul 2020

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 25, 2020


We analyze the supply-side disruptions associated with COVID-19 across firms and workers. To do so, we exploit differences in the ability of workers across industries to work remotely using data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS). We find that sectors in which a higher fraction of the workforce is not able to work remotely experienced significantly greater declines in employment, significantly more reductions in expected revenue growth, worse stock market performance, and higher expected likelihood of default. Further, we find evidence that the Paycheck Protection Program provided smaller relief on a per-employee basis to the most exposed sectors. In terms of individual employment outcomes, lower-paid workers, especially female workers with young children, were significantly more affected by these disruptions. Last, we combine these ex-ante heterogeneous industry exposures with daily financial market data to create a stock return portfolio that most closely replicates the supply-side disruptions resulting from the pandemic.

Suggested Citation

Papanikolaou, Dimitris and Schmidt, Lawrence, Working Remotely and the Supply-Side Impact of COVID-19 (July 25, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Dimitris Papanikolaou (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management - Department of Finance ( email )

Evanston, IL 60208
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lawrence Schmidt

MIT Sloan School of Management ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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