Value of Mobile Labor During Immobile Times

Posted: 4 May 2023

See all articles by Weishi Jia

Weishi Jia

Independent

Shuo Li

Western Washington University - Department of Accounting; Western Washington University

Phillip C. Stocken

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business

Eliza Xia Zhang

University of Washington, Tacoma - Milgard School of Business

Date Written: April 27, 2023

Abstract

We examine the influence of mobile employees on a firm’s resilience to its COVID exposure. We find that, during the first two quarters of 2020, firms with more mobile labor experienced less negative stock returns and lower declines in operating profit and operating efficiency in response to their COVID exposure. These results suggest mobile employees increase firm resilience to COVID exposure. There are two mechanisms through which mobile employees enhance firm resilience: (1) mobile employees can be more easily redeployed to perform alternative work within the firm due to their broad expertise, and (2) they can better adapt to the new environment due to their diverse experience. Our evidence highlights the value of mobile employees during the immobile times of the pandemic, and it has implications for regulators and practitioners seeking ways for firms to enhance resilience and improve human capital disclosure.

Keywords: Labor mobility; COVID exposure; Firm resilience; Stock returns

Suggested Citation

Jia, Weishi and Li, Shuo and Li, Shuo and Stocken, Phillip C. and Zhang, Eliza Xia, Value of Mobile Labor During Immobile Times (April 27, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4431031

Weishi Jia

Independent

Shuo Li

Western Washington University - Department of Accounting ( email )

516 High Street
Bellingham, WA N.A 98225
United States
3606503202 (Phone)

Western Washington University ( email )

United States
3606503202 (Phone)

Phillip C. Stocken

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-2843 (Phone)

Eliza Xia Zhang (Contact Author)

University of Washington, Tacoma - Milgard School of Business ( email )

1900 Commerce Street
Tacoma, WA 98402-3100
United States

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