Who will Bear the Brunt of Lockdown Policies? Evidence from Tele-workability Measures Across Countries

Author/Editor:

Mariya Brussevich ; Era Dabla-Norris ; Salma Khalid

Publication Date:

June 12, 2020

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Summary:

Lockdowns imposed around the world to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic are having a differential impact on economic activity and jobs. This paper presents a new index of the feasibility to work from home to investigate what types of jobs are most at risk. We estimate that over 97.3 million workers, equivalent to about 15 percent of the workforce, are at high risk of layoffs and furlough across the 35 advanced and emerging countries in our sample. Workers least likely to work remotely tend to be young, without a college education, working for non-standard contracts, employed in smaller firms, and those at the bottom of the earnings distribution, suggesting that the pandemic could exacerbate inequality. Crosscountry heterogeneity in the ability to work remotely reflects differential access to and use of technology, sectoral mix, and labor market selection. Policies should account for demographic and distributional considerations both during the crisis and in its aftermath.

Series:

Working Paper No. 20/88

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

June 12, 2020

ISBN/ISSN:

9781513546285/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2020088

Format:

Paper

Pages:

24

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