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

Research Focus on Digitization

Research projects

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

Leaders:  Prof. Dr. Rolf Sternberg
Team:  Louis Knüpling
Year:  2021
Sponsors:  Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Lifespan:  2021 – 2024

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.

Presentations to Scientific Audiences

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.