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Commuting, Wages and Bargaining Power

  • Rupert, Peter
  • Stancanelli, Elena G F
  • Wasmer, Etienne

A search model of the labor market is augmented to include commuting time to work. The theory posits that wages are positively related to commute distance, by a factor itself depending negatively on the bargaining power of workers. Since not all combinations of distance and wages are accepted, there is non-random selection of accepted job offers. We build on these ingredients to explore in the data the relationship between wages and commute time. We find that neglecting to account for this selection will bias downward the wage impact of commuting, and marginally affect the coefficients on education, age and gender. The correlation between the residuals of the selectivity equation and the distance equation is -0.70, showing the large impact of commute time on job acceptance decisions. We also use the theory to calculate the bargaining power of workers which largely varies depending on demographic groups: it appears to be much larger for men than that for women and that the bargaining power of women with young children is essentially zero.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara in its series University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt1wf7x3rg.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt1wf7x3rg
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  1. Diamond, Peter A, 1981. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment, and Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 798-812, August.
  2. Gautier, Pieter A & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Car Ownership and the Labour Market of Ethnic Minorities," CEPR Discussion Papers 7061, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alan Manning, 2003. "The Real Thin Theory: Monopsony in Modern Labour Markets," CEP Discussion Papers dp0564, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  5. Jos van Ommeren & Gerard J. van den Berg & Cees Gorter, 2000. "Estimating the Marginal Willingness to Pay for Commuting," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 541-563.
  6. Cahuc, Pierre & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2003. "Wage Bargaining with On-The-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 4154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Shihe Fu & Stephen L. Ross, 2010. "Wage Premia in Employment Clusters: Agglomeration or Worker Heterogeneity?," Working Papers 10-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Hans Bloemen & Elena Stancanelli, 2001. "Individual Wealth, Reservation Wages, and Transitions into Employment," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9704, Sciences Po.
  9. Gaumont, Damien & Schindler, Martin & Wright, Randall, 2006. "Alternative theories of wage dispersion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 831-848, May.
  10. Wasmer, Etienne & Zenou, Yves, 1999. "Does Space Affect Search? A Theory of Local Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Gaumont Damien & Schindler Martin & Wright Randall, 2006. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion: An Example," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 1-18, October.
  12. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz, 1992. "A Test of Negotiation and Incentive Compensation Models Using Longitudinal French Enterprise Data," NBER Working Papers 4044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. van den Berg, Gerard J & Gorter, Cees, 1997. "Job Search and Commuting Time," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(2), pages 269-81, April.
  14. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Wage Determination and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 217-27, April.
  15. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  16. repec:dgr:uvatin:20080106 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. David Roodman, 2009. "Estimating Fully Observed Recursive Mixed-Process Models with cmp," Working Papers 168, Center for Global Development.
  18. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
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