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Proceedings of the U.S.-Japan Socioeconomic Policy Research Exchange

The Rise of Telework Under COVID-19 and the Growth of Cryptocurrency

by Scott W. Harold, Kathryn E. Bouskill, Hiroo Ichikawa, Sale Lilly, Ryushi Watanabe

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was sharp growth in teleworking and the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency in both the United States and Japan. These conference proceedings capture insights from two conferences that brought together U.S. and Japanese experts.

Focusing on American experiences during the pandemic, Kathryn Bouskill describes how the pandemic has cast light on systemic racial and socioeconomic inequalities, noting that the ability to work from home is a social privilege that limits exposure to COVID-19. Americans who have been able to work from home have faced challenges with accessing high-speed internet; managing new or exacerbated mental health issues; and juggling full-time work, online school, and child care. Hiroo Ichikawa discusses telework from a Japanese perspective, pointing out that Japan's teleworking debate has focused less on addressing issues of inequality and high-speed internet access and more on ensuring worker productivity and achieving normative acceptance of telework. Ichikawa urges Japan to support telework as a key component of its approach to labor and employment.

Turning to cryptocurrency in the United States, Sale Lilly outlines three key criticisms of the technology: its use for criminal activities, its role in facilitating sanctions evasion, and its environmental impact. Lilly then asks whether blockchain might contain the solution to such concerns. Finally, Ryushi Watanabe lays out Japan's blockchain debate, describing the potential of distributed ledger technologies to free up entire segments of the Japanese economy that were otherwise almost entirely illiquid and, in so doing, to facilitate Japan's "digital transformation."

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Telework in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Chapter Three

    How the Pandemic Is Changing the Way Japan Works

  • Chapter Four

    Is More Technology the Solution to Problems with Cryptocurrency and Blockchain? A U.S. View

  • Chapter Five

    Blockchain: A Technology with the Potential to Reshape Japan

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusion

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the Government of Japan and conducted by theCommunity Health and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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