ResearchResearch projects
ReDiCOV - Regionale Unterschiede der ökonomischen Effekte des Covid-19 Ausbruchs: Homeoffice und die Rolle der Digitalisierung

ReDiCOV - Regional economic disparities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak: the role of digitalization and working-from-home

Led by:  Prof. Dr. Rolf Sternberg
Team:  Louis Knüpling, Vanessa Blobel
Year:  2021
Funding:  Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Duration:  2021 - 2026

The Corona pandemic has substantially changed the working environment for many people, including in Germany. Many public and private employers have enabled their employees to work from home. However, the prerequisites for a functioning home office differ, sometimes considerably, for a variety of reasons. In addition to private, family-related reasons, the type of job and the availability of reliable and fast internet are key criteria for successfully working from home. Thus, the pandemic may act as an accelerator of the so-called "digital divide" - the strong disparities between urban and rural areas in terms of digital infrastructure and digital skills.

The ‘ReDiCOV’ project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), will therefore focus on investigating the different effects of the Corona pandemic on regional labor markets. First, we will determine how the pandemic affects existing regional disparities. The main focus will be on differences between urban and rural areas, but also on differences between economic sectors. In the further course of the project, possible reasons for the identified effects will then be investigated. The focus will be on regional differences in digital skills and the availability of digital infrastructure as well as employment-specific differences in the feasibility of working-from-home.

A special focus will also be placed on the pandemic-related changes in the financial situation of companies and the resulting changes in markets due to company start-ups and closures. Moreover, the participants hope to gain insights into how the digitalization of working environments can change existing spatial structures of living and working places.

The project is being carried out in cooperation between the Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography and the Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim. ZEW complements the existing competencies of the Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography with its profound knowledge in labor market research.
 


Publications

Presentations to Scientific Audiences

  • Knüpling, L.; Sternberg, R.; Otto, A.: Migration of the Highly Qualified: Positive Effects for Rural Areas from Digitalization, Working from Home and COVID19? 7th Geography of Innovation Conference, University of Manchester. Manchester/UK, 12.1.2024.
  • Sternberg, R.; Knüpling, L.; Otto, A.: Rural areas as winners of the COVID19 pandemic? Digitalisation, working-from-home and the internal migration of the highly qualified. Global Crises, Mega Trends and Regional Development, St Catharine’s College. Cambridge/UK, 12.7.2023.
  • Sternberg, R.; Knüpling, L.; Otto, A.: Binnenmigration von Hochqualifizierten: Positive Effekte für ländliche Räume durch Digitalisierung, Home‐Office und COVID19?. 16. Rauischholzhausener Symposium zur Wirtschaftsgeographie. Rauischholzhausen 27.-29.4. 2023.
  • Sternberg, R.; Bergholz, C.; Bersch, J.; Füner, L.;  Lubczyk, M.: Does access to digital infrastructure lead to a shift of digital new firms in favor of rural regions? 61st ERSA Conference. Pécs (Ungarn), 25.8.2022.
  • Sternberg, R.; Knüpling, L.: On the spatiality of digitalization: Migration of the highly-skilled and interregional disparities. 61st ERSA Conference. Pécs (Ungarn), 24.8.2022.
  • Sternberg, R.; Knüpling, L.: High-speed internet vs. locational preferences of the highly-skilled: Will improved digital infrastructure lead to a decrease of economic disparities between urban and rural areas? 6th Geography of Innovation Conference, Bocconi University. Mailand (Italien), 6.7.2022.
  • Sternberg, R.: Automation, Digitalisation and AI: A Roadmap for Regions. Contribution to the OECD Roundtable. 6th Geography of Innovation Conference, Bocconi University. Mailand (Italien), 6.7.2022.
  • Knüpling, L.: The role of digitization and regional conditions for digitization in firm responses to the Corona pandemic. 5th workshop of the Young Economic Geographers Network (YEGN) Cork (Irland), 5.6.2022.
  • Sternberg, R.; Knüpling, L.: High-speed internet vs. locational preferences of the highly-skilled: Will improved digital infrastructure lead to a decrease of economic disparities between urban and rural areas? Online Workshop on „Regional Disparities and the COVID-19 Pandemic”. ZEW Leibniz Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung und Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography, Leibniz University Hannover , 14.02.2022.
  • Sternberg, R.: Zu den regionalökonomischen Implikationen der Digitalisierung: Death of Distance und/oder Zunahme interregionaler Disparitäten?" Gastvortrag am Schweizerischen Institut für KMU und Unternehmertum der Universität St. Gallen. St. Gallen (Schweiz) am 16.8.2021.