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By Caroline Grady 29-04-2020

A Framework To Ease Working from Home

(4 min read)
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Governments worldwide are facing tough decisions on how to ease lockdown restrictions. Given the trade-off between the spread of the virus and the economic cost, the overall success of the COVID response will be determined as much by the reopening phase as it was by the initial response.

A new paper from the CEPR provides a framework for easing restrictions on working from home and uses data from Germany to estimate the optimal approach in output per worker. But the takeaways apply globally: firstly, the need to lift restrictions initially only for those who cannot work from home so as to keep infection rates low; secondly, undertaking a phased easing of restrictions by region that balances output losses per worker with the risk of rising infection rates. Systemic industries or those with very high value added should also be prioritised.

These findings will be useful for policymakers around the world as they search for the optimal way to reopen economies.

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