Advertisement

Does new information technology change commuting behavior?

  • Sergejs Gubins
  • Jos van Ommeren
  • Thomas de GraaffEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

We estimate the long-run causal effect of information technology, i.e., Internet and powerful computers, as measured by the adoption of teleworking, on average commuting distance within professions in the Netherlands. We employ data for 2 years—1996 when information technology was hardly adopted and 2010 when information technology was widely used in a wide range of professions. Variation in information technology adoption over time and between professions allows us to infer the causal effect of interest using difference-in-differences techniques combined with propensity score matching. Our results show that the long-run causal effect of information technology on commuting distance is too small to be identified and likely to be absent. This suggests that, contrary to some assertions, the advent of information technology did not have a profound impact on the spatial structure of the labor market.

JEL Classification

J22 R23 R41 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Financial support from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) is gratefully acknowledged. This paper is part of TRISTAM Project (Traveler Response and Information Service Technology—Analysis and Modeling).

References

  1. Anas A, Arnott R, Small KA (1998) Urban spatial structure. J Econ Lit 36(3):1426–1464Google Scholar
  2. Andreev P, Salomon I, Pliskin N (2010) State of teleactivities. Transp Res Part C Emerg Technol 18(1):3–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Angrist JD, Pischke JS (2008) Mostly harmless econometrics: an empiricist’s companion. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  4. Arnold JM, Javorcik BS (2009) Gifted kids or pushy parents? foreign direct investment and plant productivity in Indonesia. J Int Econ 79(1):42–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Audirac I (2005) Information technology and urban form: challenges to smart growth. Int Reg Sci Rev 28(2):119–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bailey DE, Kurland NB (2002) A review of telework research: findings, new directions, and lessons for the study of modern work. J Organ Behav 23(4):383–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bloom N, Liang J, Roberts J, Ying ZJ (2015) Does working from home work? Evidence from a chinese experiment. Q J Econ 165:218Google Scholar
  8. Cairncross F (1997) The death of distance: How the communications revolution will change our lives. Harvard Business School Press, BrightonGoogle Scholar
  9. Caliendo M, Kopeinig S (2008) Some practical guidance for the implementation of propensity score matching. J Econ Surv 22(1):31–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Commander S, Harrison R, Menezes-Filho N (2011) Ict and productivity in developing countries: new firm-level evidence from Brazil and India. Rev Econ Stat 93(2):528–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. De Borger B, Wuyts B (2011) The tax treatment of company cars, commuting and optimal congestion taxes. Transp Res Part B Methodol 45(10):1527–1544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. de Vos D, Meijers E, van Ham M (2018) Working from home and the willingness to accept a longer commute. Ann Reg Sci 61:375–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dehejia RH, Wahba S (1999) Causal effects in nonexperimental studies: reevaluating the evaluation of training programs. J Am Stat Assoc 94(448):1053–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Florida R (2005) The world is spiky globalization has changed the economic playing field, but hasn’t leveled it. Atl Mon 296(3):48Google Scholar
  15. Friedman TL (2006) The world is flat [updated and expanded]: a brief history of the twenty-first century. Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Gaspar J, Glaeser EL (1998) Information technology and the future of cities. J Urban Econ 43(1):136–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Girma S, Görg H (2007) Evaluating the foreign ownership wage premium using a difference-in-differences matching approach. J Int Econ 72(1):97–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Glaeser EL (2008) Cities, agglomeration, and spatial equilibrium. OUP Catalogue, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  19. Groot SPT, de Groot HLF, Veneri P (2012) The educational bias in commuting patterns: micro-evidence for the Netherlands. Tinbergen institute discussion paper 12-080/3.  https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2119929
  20. Handy SL, Mokhtarian PL (1995) Planning for telecommuting measurement and policy issues. J Am Plan Assoc 61(1):99–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Helling A, Mokhtarian PL (2001) Worker telecommunication and mobility in transition: consequences for planning. J Plan Lit 15(4):511–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hijzen A, Martins PS, Schank T, Upward R (2013) Foreign-owned firms around the world: a comparative analysis of wages and employment at the micro-level. Eur Econ Rev 60:170–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hu L (2016) Association between telecommuting and household travel in the Chicago metropolitan area. J Urban Plan Dev 142(3):04016,005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. IDS (1996) IDS Study 616. Income Data ServicesGoogle Scholar
  25. James A (2014) Work-life ‘balance’ and gendered (im) mobilities of knowledge and learning in high-tech regional economies. J Econ Geogr 14(3):483–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jorgenson DW, Ho M, Stiroh K (2008) A retrospective look at the us productivity growth resurgence. J Econ Perspect 22(1):3–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Keynes JM (2010) Economic possibilities for our grandchildren. In: Essays in persuasion. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 321–332Google Scholar
  28. Kim SN (2016) Two traditional questions on the relationships between telecommuting, job and residential location, and household travel: revisited using a path analysis. Ann Reg Sci 56(2):537–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kim SN, Mokhtarian PL, Ahn KH (2012) The Seoul of Alonso: new perspectives on telecommuting and residential location from South Korea. Urban Geogr 33(8):1163–1191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leuven E, Sianesi B (2003) PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing. Statistical software components S432001, Boston college department of economics. Revised 1 Feb 2018Google Scholar
  31. Lund JR, Mokhtarian PL (1994) Telecommuting and residential location: theory and implications for commute travel in monocentric metropolis. Transp Res Rec 1463:10–14Google Scholar
  32. McCann P (2008) Globalization and economic geography: the world is curved, not flat. Camb J Reg Econ Soc 1(3):351–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mokhtarian PL (1998) A synthetic approach to estimating the impacts of telecommuting on travel. Urban Stud 35(2):215–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mokhtarian PL, Handy SL, Salomon I (1995) Methodological issues in the estimation of the travel, energy, and air quality impacts of telecommuting. Transp Res Part A Policy Pract 29(4):283–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mokhtarian PL, Collantes GO, Gertz C (2004) Telecommuting, residential location, and commute-distance traveled: evidence from state of california employees. Environ Plan A 36(10):1877–1897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mokhtarian PL, Salomon I, Choo S (2005) Measuring the measurable: Why cant we agree on the number of telecommuters in the us? Qual Quant 39(4):423–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moos M, Skaburskis A (2008) The probability of single-family dwelling occupancy comparing home workers and commuters in canadian cities. J Plan Educ Res 27(3):319–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mulalic I, Van Ommeren JN, Pilegaard N (2014) Wages and commuting: quasi-natural experiments’ evidence from firms that relocate. Econ J 124(579):1086–1105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Paoli P (2001) Third European survey on working conditions 2000. Office for official publications of the European CommunitiesGoogle Scholar
  40. Pissarides CA (2000) Equilibrium unemployment theory. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  41. Pratt JH, et al (2000) Telework and society-implication for corporate and societal cultures. In: Century. Xavier University, CiteseerGoogle Scholar
  42. Rhee HJ (2008) Home-based telecommuting and commuting behavior. J Urban Econ 63(1):198–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rosenbaum PR, Rubin DB (1985) Constructing a control group using multivariate matched sampling methods that incorporate the propensity score. Am Stat 39(1):33–38Google Scholar
  44. Safirova E (2002) Telecommuting, traffic congestion, and agglomeration: a general equilibrium model. J Urban Econ 52(1):26–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sang S, OKelly M, Kwan MP (2011) Examining commuting patterns: results from a journey-to-work model disaggregated by gender and occupation. Urban Stud 48(5):891–909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stiebale J, Trax M (2011) The effects of cross-border M&As on the acquirers’ domestic performance: firm-level evidence. Can J Econ 44(3):957–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Storper M, Venables AJ (2004) Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy. J Econ Geogr 4(4):351–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sullivan C (2003) What’s in a name? Definitions and conceptualisations of teleworking and homeworking. New Technol Work Employ 18(3):158–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Van Ommeren J, Rietveld P, Nijkamp P (1999) Job moving, residential moving, and commuting: a search perspective. J Urban Econ 46(2):230–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Welz C, Wolf F (2010) Telework in the European union. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, DublinGoogle Scholar
  51. Zax JS (1991) The substitution between moves and quits. Econ J 101(409):1510–1521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zhu P (2012) Are telecommuting and personal travel complements or substitutes? Ann Reg Sci 48(2):619–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhu P (2013) Telecommuting, household commute and location choice. Urban Stud 50(12):2441–2459CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy StudiesRigaLatvia
  2. 2.Department of Spatial EconomicsVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations