Ongoing Projects - Telecommuting

Within- and between-task labor supply elasticity: evidence from online labor platforms

Michele Cantarella

Estimates for uncompensated wage elasticity showcase considerable variation across studies in labor economics. This issue becomes particularly salient when considering the extensive and intensive margins of labor supply, as elasticity estimates may exhibit varying magnitudes and even different signs when examined over different timeframes.

This variability can be attributed to the amalgamation of the extensive margin of within-task supply and the intensive margin of between-task supply into a single timeframe. For the former, we refer to the extent to which workers respond to changes in wage rates for tasks they are already engaged in. For the latter, we refer to the extent to which workers allocate their time and effort across different tasks in response to variations in wage rates. This research seeks to delve deeper into this matter by examining the individual-level variation in within- and between-task elasticities.

Online labor platforms are ideal for this task, as they break down jobs into discrete tasks and offer workers flexibility based on task demand. Compensation on these platforms is often tied to task completion, with a fixed reward associated with each task. Most platform workers operate as independent contractors, eliminating the need for traditional hiring and dismissal costs or fixed-hour contracts.

The study will conduct an online survey with an experimental component through online micro-task platforms like Prolific Academic, Clickworker, and AMT. Combining experimental and quasi-experimental approaches to the estimation of labor supply, this study seeks to retrieve these idiosyncratic elasticities and study how the two are connected.

The emission footprint of telework: when is it sustainable?

Valentina Pieroni

Before the onset of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic crisis, teleworking had been embraced as an occasional working pattern driven by evolving labor market trends. In recent times, the severe health emergency triggered by COVID-19 coupled with growing environmental and climate concerns, has propelled the widespread adoption of remote working solutions. This shift has reignited the academic and institutional debate on the implications of working-from-home (WfH) practices prompting a deep examination of the phenomenon. Previous research has delved into the consequences of WfH for workers discussing how flexible arrangements affect work-life balance, career prospects, or job satisfaction. Other studies unveil the contribution of teleworking to the resilience and performance of organizations. To grasp the net impact of such arrangements on the economy and society, the environmental footprint of remote working has emerged as a promising research topic. Despite increasing academic efforts, the link between teleworking and energy or emission savings remains an ambiguous issue. Extant evidence suggests that the reduction in carbon emissions from fewer commuting trips may be offset by more frequent and longer non-work trips and increased household energy usage. The variety of research methods and underlying assumptions exacerbates the overall complexity returning a nuanced picture. Furthermore, most studies conducted thus far rely on survey data collected before the advent of COVID-19, leaving room for assessing the implications and efficiency of teleworking configurations in a post-pandemic scenario. The project aims to explore whether and under what conditions WfH represents a viable strategy to reduce the emissions footprint of commuting workers, with a particular focus on the Italian context. Our approach leverages primary data on the commuting habits and energy consumption behaviors of both teleworkers and non-teleworkers. Exploiting a multidisciplinary approach, we provide a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts of teleworking.