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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Costs and Benefits of Telecommuting: A Review and Evaluation of Micro-Scale Studies and Promotional Literature


This literature review has been prepared to synthesize and assess previous small-scale economic evaluations of telecommuting. These small-scale studies can be categorized as telecommuting pilot projects that take into account telecommuter and employer costs and benefits. (The reader is referred to a 1998 review of macro-scale telecommuting literature by Shafizadeh et al.). In this report, four studies are selected and examined as representing the state of practice regarding methodology and assumptions. The report identifies common inputs, critical assumptions, and limitations of these works. Finally, the major findings of each study are presented and compared to claims found in promotional literature. Among the primary findings of this review is the conclusion that few pilot evaluations contained cost-benefit results. Nonetheless, the results that are available supplement the macro-scale studies and furnish a variety of empirical values that are essential in complete cost-benefit analyses.

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