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Working from Home and the Willingness to Accept a Longer Commute

Author

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  • de Vos, Duco

    () (Delft University of Technology)

  • Meijers, Evert J.

    (Delft University of Technology)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    () (Delft University of Technology)

Abstract

It is generally found that workers are more inclined to accept a job that is located farther away from home if they have the ability to work from home one day a week or more (telecommuting). Such findings inform us about the effectiveness of telecommuting policies that try to alleviate congestion and transport related emissions, but they also stress that the geography of labour markets is changing due to information technology. We argue that estimates of the effect of working from home on commuting time are biased downward because most studies ignore preference based sorting (self-selection): workers who dislike commuting, and hence have shorter commutes, might also be more likely to work from home. In this paper we investigate to what extent working from home affects the willingness to accept a longer commute and we control for preference based sorting. We use 7 waves of data from the Dutch Labour Supply Panel and show that on average telecommuters have a 50 percent higher marginal cost of one-way commuting time, compared to non-telecommuters. We estimate the effect of telecommuting on commuting time using a fixed-effects approach and we show that preference based sorting biases cross-sectional results 27-28 percent downwards. Working from home allows people to accept 5.7 percent longer commuting times on average, and every additional 8 hours of working from home are associated with 3 percent longer commuting times.

Suggested Citation

  • de Vos, Duco & Meijers, Evert J. & van Ham, Maarten, 2017. "Working from Home and the Willingness to Accept a Longer Commute," IZA Discussion Papers 10875, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10875
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pengyu Zhu, 2012. "Are telecommuting and personal travel complements or substitutes?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 48(2), pages 619-639, April.
    2. Wee, Bert van & Geurs, Karst & Chorus, Caspar, 2013. "Information, communication, travel behavior and accessibility," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 6(3), pages 1-16.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    telecommuting; commuting time; job search; job mobility; labour market area;

    JEL classification:

    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • 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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