Away from Home and Back: Coordinating (Remote) Workers in 1800 and 2020

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See all articles by Réka Juhász

Réka Juhász

Columbia University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Mara Squicciarini

Bocconi University

Nico Voigtländer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: December 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the future of remote work by drawing parallels between two contexts: The move from home to factory-based production during the Industrial Revolution and the shift to work from home today. Both are characterized by a similar trade-off: the potential productivity advantage of the new working arrangement made possible by technology (mechanization or ICT), versus organizational barriers such as coordinating workers. Using contemporary data, we show that organizational barriers seem to be present today. Without further technological or organizational innovations, remote work may not be here to stay just yet.

Suggested Citation

Juhász, Réka and Squicciarini, Mara and Voigtländer, Nico, Away from Home and Back: Coordinating (Remote) Workers in 1800 and 2020 (December 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w28251, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3753161

Réka Juhász (Contact Author)

Columbia University

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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Mara Squicciarini

Bocconi University ( email )

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Italy

Nico Voigtländer

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/nico.v/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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United Kingdom

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