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Who Should Work from Home During a Pandemic? The Wage-Infection Trade-off
Shutting down the workplace is an effective means of reducing contagion but can induce large economic losses. We harmonize the American Time Use Survey and O*NET data to construct a measure of infection risk (exposure index) and a measure of the ease with which a job can be performed remotely (work-from-home index) across both industries and occupations. The two indexes are negatively correlated but distinct, so the economic costs of containing a pandemic can be minimized by sending home only those workers that are highly exposed to infection risk but that can perform their jobs easily from ...
Why Is the Labor Share Declining?
The fraction of national income accruing to labor (the labor share) had been roughly constant in developed economies for much of the 20th century but has fallen since the 1980s. We review several of the leading explanations in the literature for the declining labor share. We then point to hitherto unexplored dimensions of the data and provide suggestive evidence for a new explanation. In particular, we show that the labor share began a steeper descent in 2000. This more recent break in the labor-share trend coincides with the rapid rise of software investment, which has left a larger impact ...
Industrial and Occupational Employment Changes During the Great Recession
The U.S. labor market contracted sharply during the Great Recession. The ensuing recovery has been sluggish and by some measures still incomplete. In this paper, we break down aggregate employment during the Recession and the recovery into changes across industries and occupations. There is a clear asymmetric pattern: The contraction is driven by sectors and the recovery by occupations. In particular, the contraction between 2008 and 2010 primarily reflects a steep decline in construction employment, partially mitigated by expansions in the food services, education, and health industries. The ...