No. 569 - Italian workers at risk during the Covid-19 epidemic

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by Teresa Barbieri, Gaetano Basso and Sergio ScicchitanoJune 2020

Occupational tasks and workplace characteristics determine whether workers are subject to risks of contagion from Covid-19: this is more likely if they operate in physical proximity to other people or because frequent exposure to diseases and infections. This paper analyzes these dimensions of risk for the universe of Italian workers and elaborates an indicator of the extent to which work activities can be carried out from remote.

The service and retail trade sectors are characterized by high physical proximity and, therefore, are more exposed to diseases and infections. Men over the age of 50, who face higher risk of complications from Covid-19, operate mainly in sectors that are little exposed to proximity, or where there is the possibility of working remotely. The lockdown measures implemented by the Government in March 2020 have affected up to 35 percent of total employment: many workers were employed in sectors with a high physical proximity index.

Published in 2022 in: Italian Economic Journal / Rivista italiana degli economisti, v. 8, 1, pp. 175-195.

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