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Stress That Doesn't Pay: The Commuting Paradox

  • Stutzer, Alois

    ()

    (University of Basel)

  • Frey, Bruno S.

    ()

    (University of Zurich)

People spend a lot of time commuting and often find it a burden. According to 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, we find that people with longer commuting time report systematically lower subjective well-being. Additional empirical analyses do not find institutional explanations of the empirical results that commuters systematically incur losses. We discuss several possibilities of an extended model of human behavior able to explain this ‘commuting paradox’.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1278.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2007, 110 (2), 339 - 366
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1278
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  10. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  11. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Reported Subjective Well-Being: A Challenge for Economic Theory and Economic Policy," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 124(2), pages 191-231.
  12. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," IEW - Working Papers 015, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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  15. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  16. McMillen, Daniel P. & Singell, Larry Jr., 1992. "Work location, residence location, and the intraurban wage gradient," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 195-213, September.
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  18. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
  19. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
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  21. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
  22. Ommeren, Jos van & Berg, Gerard J. van den & Gorter, Cees, 1998. "Estimating the marginal willingness to pay for commuting," Serie Research Memoranda 0046, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  23. Crampton, Graham R., 1999. "Urban labour markets," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 1499-1557 Elsevier.
  24. Heidi Lepper, 1998. "Use of Other-Reports to Validate Subjective Well-Being Measures," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 367-379, July.
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