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The renewal of interest in macroeconomic theories of search frictions in the goods market requires a deeper understanding of the cyclical properties of the intensive margins in this market. We review the theoretical mechanisms that promote either procyclical or countercyclical movements in time spent searching for consumer goods and services, and then use the American Time Use Survey to measure shopping time through the Great Recession. Average time spent searching declined in the aggregate over the period 2008-2010 compared to 2005-2007, and the decline was largest for the unemployed who ...
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 ...