Social Distancing, Labor Market Outcomes, and Job Characteristics in the COVID-19 Pandemic

47 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2020 Last revised: 1 Sep 2020

See all articles by Suqin Ge

Suqin Ge

Virginia Tech - Department of Economics

Yu Zhou

Jinan University

Date Written: August 12, 2020

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of job characteristics on an individual's decisions to self-isolate, work, and apply for unemployment insurance in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use data that track millions of mobile devices and their daily movements across physical locations to measure whether the mobile devices leave their homes, or part-time or full-time at work that day, and we also collect data on weekly unemployment insurance claims. We find that the presence of jobs with high work-from-home capacity in a region increases the ability of people to self-isolate and decreases their unemployment risk, whereas the presence of jobs with high physical proximity decreases the incidences of self-isolation and unemployment and increases the incidence of work during the pandemic. These heterogeneous responses based on local job characteristics persist even conditional on a broad set of demographic and socioeconomic variables.

Keywords: work-from-home, physical proximity, social distancing, employment, COVID-19

JEL Classification: J22, E24, R12, J10

Suggested Citation

Ge, Suqin and Zhou, Yu, Social Distancing, Labor Market Outcomes, and Job Characteristics in the COVID-19 Pandemic (August 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3672378 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3672378

Suqin Ge (Contact Author)

Virginia Tech - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

Yu Zhou

Jinan University ( email )

Huang Pu Da Dao Xi 601, Tian He District
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510632
China

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
4
Abstract Views
127
PlumX Metrics