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Search Theory and Commuting Behavior

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  • Jan Rouwendal

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Abstract

In this paper I argue that search theory is a useful addition to the way economists and geographers have approached the study of commuting behavior. This is illustrated by showing that introduction of a spatial element into the standard model of job search leads to the prediction of critical isochrones. Moreover, in the context of an urban economy with decentralized employment the spatial search model predicts excess commuting. Search theory also suggests that regression towards the mean may play a confusing role in data describing the development of commutes over time, such as has been used in recent empirical work. Finally, the paper develops a simple spatial equilibrium search model in which employers set their wages optimally and searchers determine their reservation wages optimally in mutually consistent ways. The spatial element is crucial for the existence of such an equilibrium in which reservation wages of all searchers and wages set by all employers are identical.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 04-017/3.

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Date of creation: 02 Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20040017

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

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Keywords: commuting; search theory; local labor markets;

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References

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  1. Jan Rouwendal & Arno van der Vlist, 2002. "A Dynamic Model of Commutes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-026/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Rouwendal, Jan, 1998. "Search Theory, Spatial Labor Markets, and Commuting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-22, January.
  3. Clark, William A. V. & Huang, Youqin & Withers, Suzanne, 2003. "Does commuting distance matter?: Commuting tolerance and residential change," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 199-221, March.
  4. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1994. "The Rational Locator: Why Travel Times Have Remained Stable," Working Papers 199402, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  5. Small, Kenneth A & Song, Shunfeng, 1992. ""Wasteful" Commuting: A Resolution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 888-98, August.
  6. Rouwendal, Jan, 1999. "Spatial job search and commuting distances," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 491-517, July.
  7. van Ommeren, Jos & Rietveld, Piet & Nijkamp, Peter, 1997. "Commuting: In Search of Jobs and Residences," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 402-421, November.
  8. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Karlström, Anders & Isacsson, Gunnar, 2009. "Is sick absence related to commuting travel time? - Swedish Evidence Based on the Generalized Propensity Score Estimator," Working Papers 2010:3, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  2. Stefan P.T. Groot & Henri L.F. de Groot & Paolo Veneri, 2012. "The Educational Bias in Commuting Patterns: Micro-Evidence for the Netherlands," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-080/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Dario Diodato & Anet Weterings, 2012. "The Resilience of Dutch Regions to Economic Shocks. Measuring the relevance of interactions among firms and workers," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1215, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Aug 2012.
  4. Gunther Maier, 2009. "Spatial prices, search behavior and location," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 27-48, March.
  5. Stefan P.T. Groot & Henri L.F. de Groot & Paolo Veneri, 2012. "The Educational Bias in Commuting Patterns: Micro-Evidence for the Netherlands," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-080/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Roberts, Jennifer & Hodgson, Robert & Dolan, Paul, 2011. "“It's driving her mad”: Gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1064-1076.
  7. Sandow, Erika & Westin, Kerstin, 2010. "The persevering commuter - Duration of long-distance commuting," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 433-445, July.

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