Broadband Access, Telecommuting and the Urban-Rural Digital Divide
We investigate the role of broadband access on the probability of telecommuting and whether individuals who work from home receive greater compensation. We also assess whether telecommuting differs between more- and less-densely populated areas. Telecommuting responds positively to local average commuting time and to local access to High-Speed Internet service. Differences in broadband access explain three-fourths of the gap in telecommuting between urban and rural markets. Telecommuters and other IT users do not earn significantly more than otherwise observationally comparable workers. Already highly skilled and highly paid workers are the most likely to telecommute and so they do not earn more because they telecommute. As broadband access improves in rural markets, the urban-rural gap in telecommuting will diminish. The urban-rural pay gap will also decrease if improved broadband access induces some already highly paid urban workers to move to rural areas.
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