Simeon Djankov, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang, 22 November 2021

Leaving human capital out of policy discussions might lead to incorrect inferences about which measures were most successful during the pandemic. Based on a sample of 45 mostly OECD economies, the authors of this column show that both high levels of human capital and, to a lesser extent, flexible labour regulation have allowed labour force participation to recover faster during the Covid crisis. Countries that prepare to fight the effects of globalisation and robotics have also managed to alleviate the effects of the shock on the labour market. 

Johanna Rickne, Olle Folke, 21 May 2020

The #MeToo movement put a spotlight on a severe and highly prevalent workplace problem: sexual harassment. Using data from Sweden, this column argues that economists should treat sexual harassment as gender discrimination in work conditions. Both men and women are subject to this discrimination when they are part of gender minorities in occupations or workplaces.

Marta Angelici, Paola Profeta, 28 March 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus has led to a huge increase in ‘smart working’ across the world, but little is known about the economic effects of this mode of working. This column uses an experiment with workers in a large, traditional company in the multi-utility sector in Italy to show that the introduction of smart working can have a positive effect on productivity, wellbeing and work-life balance. By removing the rigidity related to particular hours of work, it may contribute to reducing gender gaps in the labour market.

Judith A. Chevalier, 18 February 2019

Judy Chevalier from Yale School of Management asks whether flexibility provides benefits to gig workers, based on data collected from 200,000 Uber drivers over a 9-month period.

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