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Stress that Doesn't Pay: The Commuting Paradox

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  • Alois Stutzer
  • Bruno S. Frey

Abstract

People spend a lot of time commuting and often find it a burden. According to standard economics, the burden of commuting is chosen when compensated either on the labor or on the housing market so that individuals' utility is equalized. However, in a direct test of this strong notion of equilibrium with panel data, we find that people with longer commuting time report systematically lower subjective well‐being. This result is robust with regard to a number of alternative explanations. We mention several possibilities of an extended model of human behavior able to explain this “commuting paradox”.

Suggested Citation

  • Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Stress that Doesn't Pay: The Commuting Paradox," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 339-366, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:110:y:2008:i:2:p:339-366
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9442.2008.00542.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2008.00542.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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