Intra-household commuting choices and local labour markets

Publication type

Research Paper


Jennifer Roberts and Karl Taylor

Publication date

Series Number



While the job search literature has increasingly recognised the
importance of the spatial distribution of employment opportunities,
local labour market conditions have been a notable omission from much of
the empirical literature on commuting outcomes. This study of the
commute times of dual earner couples in England and Wales finds that
local labour market conditions are closely associated with commute times
and their effects are not gender neutral. Male commute times are much
more sensitive to local unemployment rates than women's; where women
earn less than one-third of household income, their commute times do not
seem to be sensitive to local unemployment. In addition, the more
conducive the local labour market is to female employment, the less time
women spend commuting. On average the 'female friendliness' of the
local labour market has no effect on male commute times, but in
households where women earn the majority of household income, men
commute further if the local labour market is female friendly. We also
show that it is important to account for the heterogeneity of household
types; there are important differences in our results according to
female income share, housing tenure, mover status and mode of travel.


Area Effects, Labour Market, Households, Unemployment and Commuting


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