COVID-19: How Important is Education for Social Distancing and Remote Work

  • Frank Crowley Department of Economics, Cork University Business School, University College Cork
  • Justin Doran University College Cork
  • Geraldine Ryan University College Cork


Public health interventions such as occupational social distancing and remote working, while critical to slow the spread of the coronavirus, are severely disrupting labour markets. We examine the impact of educational attainment on a worker’s potential to engage in both occupational social distancing in the workplace and working from home requirements for the Irish case. We identify that remote working has a more significant economic effect on labour market inequalities than occupational social distancing. In fact, the results indicate the relationship between occupational social distancing and differences in worker demographics are small. Remote working inequalities are primarily related to differences in individual education levels and a worker’s gender.

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