Working from Home and the Willingness to Accept a Longer Commute

28 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2017

See all articles by Duco de Vos

Duco de Vos

Delft University of Technology

E.J. (Evert) Meijers

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Maarten van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies; University of St. Andrews; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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.

Keywords: telecommuting, commuting time, job search, job mobility, labour market area

JEL Classification: J32, R11, R41

Suggested Citation

de Vos, Duco and Meijers, E.J. (Evert) and van Ham, Maarten, Working from Home and the Willingness to Accept a Longer Commute. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10875. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2998985

Duco De Vos (Contact Author)

Delft University of Technology

Stevinweg 1
Stevinweg 1
Delft, 2628 CN
Netherlands

E.J. (Evert) Meijers

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment ( email )

Julianalaan 134
Delft, 2628 BL
Netherlands

Maarten Van Ham

Delft University of Technology - OTB Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 5043
2600 GA Delft
Netherlands
+31 15 278 2782 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.maartenvanham.nl

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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