The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a surge in remote work, and even after the pandemic is over, about one-fifth of paid workdays will take place at home, according to Chicago Booth’s Steven J. Davis and his coauthors, Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology’s Jose Maria Barrero and Stanford’s Nicholas Bloom. But some in the workforce lack a key element in their work-from-home arrangements: reliable, high-speed internet access. In research for the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, Barrero, Bloom, and Davis find that were everyone in the United States to have such access, it would boost labor productivity by 1.1 percent—resulting in a present-value benefit of $4 trillion. How that benefit compares to the costs, Davis says, remains an unanswered question.

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