Commuting, Migration and Local Employment Elasticities
42 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2015 Last revised: 24 Apr 2022
Date Written: November 2015
To understand the elasticity of employment to local labor demand shocks, we develop a quantitative general equilibrium model that incorporates spatial linkages in goods markets (trade) and factor markets (commuting and migration). We show that local employment elasticities differ substantially across U.S. counties and commuting zones in ways that are not well explained by standard empirical controls but are captured by commuting measures. We provide independent evidence for these predictions from million dollar plants and find that empirically-observed reductions in commuting costs generate welfare gains of around 3.3 percent and employment reallocations from -20 to 30 percent.
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