The Journal of Population Economics awards annually the Kuznets Prize for the best paper published in the Journal in a particular year. The 2022 Prize based on the articles in 2021 goes to:
Luca Bonacini, Giovanni Gallo & Sergio Scicchitano
Working from home and income inequality: risks of a ‘new normal’ with COVID-19
Journal of Population Economics 34, 303–360 (2021)
- See also this Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/kompalsinha/status/1465956866735816705
The award ceremony is part of a journal workshop on December 6, 2021. 4-6 pm CEST:
Presentation of Kuznets Prize 2022 & Highlights of JOPE Issue 4/2021 on Covid-19 economics.
MORE information and info to participate: LINK
- Luca Bonacini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
- Giovanni Gallo, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy; National Institute for Public Policies Analysis (INAPP), Rome, Italy
- Sergio Scicchitano, National Institute for Public Policies Analysis (INAPP), Rome, Italy
Paper abstract: In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home (WFH) became of great importance for a large share of employees since it represents the only option to both continue working and minimize the risk of virus exposure. Uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic and future contagion waves even led companies to view WFH as a ‘new normal’ way of working. Based on influence function regression methods, this paper explores the potential consequences in the labor income distribution related to a long-lasting increase in WFH feasibility among Italian employees. Results show that a positive shift in WFH feasibility would be associated with an increase in average labor income, but this potential benefit would not be equally distributed among employees. Specifically, an increase in the opportunity to WFH would favor male, older, high-educated, and high-paid employees. However, this ‘forced innovation’ would benefit more employees living in provinces have been more affected by the novel coronavirus. WFH thus risks exacerbating pre-existing inequalities in the labor market, especially if it will not be adequately regulated. As a consequence, this study suggests that policies aimed at alleviating inequality, like income support measures (in the short run) and human capital interventions (in the long run), should play a more important compensating role in the future.