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Exponential or Power Distance-Decay for Commuting? An Alternative Specification


  • Jacob J de Vries
  • Peter Nijkamp
  • Piet Rietveld


In this paper we investigate the functional form of distance decay for commuting flows between municipalities in Denmark. Our inference is based on a single equation that includes variables to capture the effect of spatial structure. Special attention is given to a proper estimation method: we estimate the distance-decay parameters by nonlinear weighted least-squares with balancing factors. It appears that neither an exponential nor a power distance-decay function fits the data well. Using a spline regression we find a cost elasticity of – 4 for distances around 20 km and a much smaller value for shorter and longer distances. It appears that the logarithm of distance decay can be described adequately as a (downward) logistic function of log cost.

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  • Jacob J de Vries & Peter Nijkamp & Piet Rietveld, 2009. "Exponential or Power Distance-Decay for Commuting? An Alternative Specification," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 41(2), pages 461-480, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envira:v:41:y:2009:i:2:p:461-480

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    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population


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