An Empirical Analysis of Race and Political Partisanship Effects on Workplace Mobility Patterns During Lockdown, Reopening, and Endemic COVID-19

J. Ryan Lamare, Richard A. Benton, Patricia Michel Tabarani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The authors investigate how race and political partisanship affected variations in workplace and non-workplace mobility at three COVID-19 phases—lockdown (2020), reopening (2021), and endemic COVID (2022). They theorize that structural racism compelled relatively greater workplace mobility rates in Black communities during lockdown, and reduced Black workplace mobility during reopening and endemic COVID. By contrast, they posit elite-level anti-science skepticism and its amplification resulted in Trump-voting communities experiencing relatively higher workplace and non-workplace mobility rates than non-Trump-voting areas throughout the pandemic. Regressions primarily using county-level Google Mobility Reports data support the hypotheses, conditioning on state-level fixed effects and county-level urbanity, COVID job-type sorting, demographics, and socioeconomics. The county-level results are complemented by outcomes from novel individual-level COVID lockdown survey data, helping connect the proposed individual-level mechanisms to the county-level findings. The authors conclude that work mobility during COVID was racialized and politicized, offering empirical insights into how systematic disadvantages can lead to increased and unequal precarity during periods of acute economic or social crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalILR Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • COVID
  • economic inequality
  • political polarization
  • race and ethnicity
  • work mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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