Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Does working from home work? A natural experiment from lockdowns

Shen, Lucas (2022): Does working from home work? A natural experiment from lockdowns. Forthcoming in: European Economic Review

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Using tracked changes from a large open-source software platform, this paper studies how working from home affected the output of individuals working in tech. The basis of the natural experiment comes from idiosyncratic and state-imposed workplace closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. I find a negative but almost-negligible change in individual-level output of 0.5 percent (standard error of 0.091 percent). Overall, and based on descriptive analyses of the timestamped data, tracked changes in software development cadences approximate regular work activity and provide a useful avenue for future studies of work.

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