Post-pandemic WFH

1. Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, and Steven J. Davis write,

Our survey evidence says that 22 percent of all full work days will be supplied from home after the pandemic ends, compared with just 5 percent before. We provide evidence on five mechanisms behind this persistent shift to working from home: diminished stigma, better-than-expected experiences working from home, investments in physical and human capital enabling working from home, reluctance to return to pre-pandemic activities, and innovation supporting working from home. We also examine some implications of a persistent shift in working arrangements: First, high-income workers, especially, will enjoy the perks of working from home. Second, we forecast that the postpandemic shift to working from home will lower worker spending in major city centers by 5 to 10 percent. Third, many workers report being more productive at home than on business premises, so post-pandemic work from home plans offer the potential to raise productivity as much as 2.4 percent.

I would not be optimistic regarding the last point. But I do think that this will really accentuate the class divide. The people who work from home will be able to engage more with their children. They will have more flexibility in general for dealing with everything from medical issues to laundry.

2. I talk with Richard Reinsch about macroeconomics in the age of the virus. I offer the PSST perspective.

on net 10 million people not working. That’s an entrepreneurial opportunity to find something useful for them to do. But that means you have to encourage entrepreneurship. And under the Obama administration, you had discouraging entrepreneurship because they kept piling on regulation. And one of the quiet things that the Trump administration has done is to loosen those regulations so that entrepreneurs could work more quickly. But the current situation is so extreme in terms of the reconfigurations that are needed, that you need just an awful lot of entrepreneurial activity, and it’s going to take a long time for entrepreneurs to figure out how to use these extra 10 million or so people.