Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Zoomshock: The geography and local labour market consequences of working from home.

Author(s): Gianni De Fraja, Jesse Matheson and James Rockey

Publication Date: January 2021

Keyword(s): COVID-19, Local Labour Markets, lockdown, teleworking and work-from-home

Programme Area(s): Public Economics

Abstract: The Covid-19 health crisis has led to a substantial increase in work done from home, which shifts economic activity across geographic space. We refer to this shift as a Zoomshock. The Zoomshock has implications for locally consumed services; much of the clientèle of restaurants, coffee bars, pubs, hair stylists, health clubs, and the like located near workplaces is transferred to establishments located near where people live. In this paper we measure the Zoomshock at a very granular level for UK neighbourhoods. We establish three important empirical facts. First, the Zoomshock is large; many workers can work-from-home and live in a different neighbourhood than they work. Second, the Zoomshock is very heterogeneous; economic activity is decreasing in productive city centres and increasing residential suburbs. Third, the Zoomshock moves workers away from neighbourhoods with a large supply of locally consumed services to neighbourhoods where the supply of these services is relatively scarce. We discuss the implications for aggregate employment and local economic recovery following the Covid-19 health crisis.

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Bibliographic Reference

De Fraja, G, Matheson, J and Rockey, J. 2021. 'Zoomshock: The geography and local labour market consequences of working from home.'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.