Wilke, A.; Welfens P.J.J.: An Analysis of Corona Pandemic-related Productivity Growth in Germany: Sectoral Aspects, Work-From-Home Perspectives and Digitalization Intensity

Wilke, A.; Welfens P.J.J.: An Analysis of Corona Pandemic-related Productivity Growth in Germany: Sectoral Aspects, Work-From-Home Perspectives and Digitalization Intensity

JEL classification: D24, E23, O47 

Key words: Productivity, Covid-19 pandemic, labor reallocation, digitalization, work-from-home, shift-share analysis

Summary:

This paper considers labor productivity growth under the Corona pandemic setting in Germany in 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021 and thus is a complementary analysis to a study of Vries et al. (2021) which covers the US, France and the UK. Data from 63 industries is used within a shift-share analysis to analyze pure within-productivity growth in Germany, abstracting from reallocations of hours worked. Following the original approach of Vries et al. (2021), three taxonomies are applied to categorize industry-level data regarding similar types of activity (sector affiliation), working-from-home (WFH) intensity and digital intensity. We find that aggregate productivity growth in Germany was slightly negative in 2020, but saw a rather large positive growth in the second quarter of 2021. This is still true when looking at the pure-within industry productivity growth. The much-discussed hospitality and culture sector underwent only small within-productivity growth reductions. Most changes of within-productivity growth during 2020 and 2021 can be observed in the manufacturing sector. Even though high WFH industries performed better during 2020 in terms of within-industry productivity growth, the difference to medium- and low-WFH industries was very small. In the second quarter of 2021 both medium and low WFH industries outperformed high WFH industries. Above average digital-intensive industries showed higher within-industry productivity growth than below average digital-intensive industries at the beginning of the pandemic. However, below average digital-intensive industries caught up during the first two quarters of 2021. For almost all industries, rather large within-industry productivity growth can be observed in the second quarter of 2021.    

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