Working from a new home? Remote work experience and urban out-migration in Sweden
58 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2022 Last revised: 2 Aug 2023
Date Written: July 28, 2023
I examine how experiencing working from home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the out-migration decisions of the working-age population of large Swedish cities. Using register microdata of individuals in the period 2015–2021, the results of this study show that the remote work experiment in 2020–2021 significantly increased the likelihood of moving out of large cities (8.7% in 2020, 12.5% in 2021) and of moving to the hinterlands (4.4% in 2020, 11.5% in 2021) compared to the usual internal migration flows before the pandemic. Such results highlight the new-found relevance of the ability to WFH (as an occupational characteristic) and the potentially associated experience (as a working arrangement) as drivers affecting individuals’ residential location. Nevertheless, the relatively small size of the effects compared to other migration drivers and to the change in mobility patterns that the COVID-19 pandemic per se has brought to the entire working-age population in large cities cast doubt on the potential role of remote work in the future distribution of population across space.
Keywords: working from home (WFH); remote work; COVID-19; migration; suburbanization; counterurbanization
JEL Classification: J81, R23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation