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December 2, 2020

Lack of work from home opportunities increases pandemic risk in developing countries

By Paul Dennis

2 December

Stephen L Ross, an urban economist, re-tweeted an article on the feasibility of working from home in developing countries.

The article noted that people’s economic experience of Covid-19 depends partly on whether they are able to work from home.

Poorer countries have fewer jobs that can be done at home, resulting in more workers losing their jobs or being exposed to the virus while working.

In countries like Brazil, low-qualified workers are less likely to do their job at home. Therefore, the impossibility to switch to a home environment is forcing people to leave their houses for work during the pandemic.

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Evidence suggests that by May 2020, about 14% of the Brazilians employed were working remotely, while 37% of the employees with a tertiary education were able to work from home, and only 1%  of the workers with no school leaving certificate were able to work remotely.

Data from the Skills Toward Employability and Productivity (STEP) survey also found that ten developing countries including Bolivia, China, Armenia, Georgia, Columbia, Kenya, Ghana, Laos, Vietnam, and Macedonia, had only 13% of the employed population working from home.

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