COVID-19: No work, essential work, and what they have in common FILE – In this March 26, 2020, file photo, Dave Herrick installs a plexiglass panel at a checkout lane at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Overland Park, Kan. Grocery workers across the globe are working the front lines during lockdowns meant to keep the coronavirus from spreading. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, is it better to work or collect unemployment benefits? With many jobs paying little for dangerous work and the unemployment system getting clogged with applicants, the answer isn’t so simple. In this episode, we talk to Alicia Sasser-Modestino (associate professor of economics and of public policy and urban affairs; associate director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy).