Adam Ozimek On Jobs, Remote Work, and Housing

From Josh Barro:

“It’s a pretty good week for my conversation with Adam Ozimek, an economist whose recent work focuses on the intersection between labor markets and housing.

Adam is an evangelist for remote work — perhaps in part because he lives near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the sort of affordable mid-size city within a couple of hours of very major cities that stands to gain residents from the remote work trend — but he also has arguments that the sharp increase in partial or fully remote work is simply very important for the ways it will change how many parts of the economy operate. Here’s what Adam said:

“I think remote work really is a general purpose technology… It’s more comparable to electrification. It’s more comparable to the invention of the internal combustion engine or automobiles or something like that in the way that it’s going to ripple through everything and it’s going to have these longstanding big impacts. I’m not saying the aggregate economic impact is going to be bigger than or as big as electrification, but it’s that kind of fundamental change.”

There are few places where this effect is bigger than in housing: remote workers want larger homes, they don’t need to live so close to their offices, and they have more flexibility to choose the sort of community they live in. That’s driving all sorts of shifts in relative home prices and changing what needs to be built and where.

I think you’ll find our conversation very interesting. You can find a transcript of the episode and other relevant links at the end of this newsletter.”

Here are some links related to the podcast conversation with Adam:

Click here for a transcript of this episode.

Adam cited this paper by economists Jonathan Dingel and Brett Neiman that says 37% of jobs in America could be done entirely remotely. Here’s a helpful Reuters feature on their work.

Adam also cited economist Nick Bloom’s analysis of worker preference for remote, hybrid, and full-time in-person work.

referenced this data from key-card company Kastle about the fraction of employees badging in to the office across different metropolitan areas, and this piece from Matt Yglesias on Chicago’s specific troubles.

Posted by at 3:53 PM

Labels: Global Housing Watch


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