U.S. Remote Workers in a Global Economy

As employers increasingly say they will let many workers stay remote, and as many employees continue to insist that they do, the debate around remote work has evolved. It is no longer a discussion of whether significant levels of remote work will be with us permanently, but what the impacts will be. While short-run considerations focus on how practical considerations like how office policy will change and where people will move, a bigger long-run consideration must be made: what will happen to U.S. workers competing in a global remote labor market? In this paper, I use data from Upwork, the world’s largest global remote labor market, to shed light on how things already look, and how they will look, for U.S. workers. The results show that overall, U.S. workers earn a pay premium in global labor markets