The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 187–210 | Cite as

Does new information technology change commuting behavior?

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


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 



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).


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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

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