Spatial disparities in labor and housing markets

Spatial disparities persist as a complex and unresolved topic in current research and policy. Understanding individual decisions around spatial frictions is crucial for assessing the general equilibrium effects of policies in their impact on disparities. In this context, urban economics is a field that has gained renewed attention due to recent waves of urbanization, methodological advancements, and the availability of geolocated datasets. This collection of research projects explores individuals' and households' decisions around spatial frictions across commuting choices, the urban wage premium, the role of taxation in housing markets, and potential policy implications.

The first project reveals a significant gender disparity in the influence of commuting distances on job retention. We find that women, especially those with children, are more likely to leave their jobs when facing long commutes—a trend not observed among men. By utilizing a dynamic search model, this study illustrates how commuting costs increase substantially for women after becoming mothers, shedding light on the interplay between gender roles, family responsibilities, and labor market participation. This project contributes to the literature on the value of time, especially for commuting and care work, labor supply, and the gender wage gap.

The second project explores the urban wage premium in Denmark and its gender-specific implications. By analyzing data from the Danish working population, this study identifies an urban wage premium for both wage levels and wage growth. We find that women receive a lower return to work experience from working in cities compared to men, indicating gender disparities in the benefits from agglomeration. These findings underscore the gender dimension of spatial disparities in the labor market, with implications for career trajectories, location choice, and the realization of agglomeration benefits.

The third project shifts the focus to housing markets, examining the impact of real estate transfer taxes on housing affordability, especially in markets with substantial rental share. Drawing from nationwide data in Germany, this study exploits spatial and temporal variations in tax rates and finds that the transfer tax significantly reduces both, house prices and rents. This research also emphasizes spatial disparities in the reaction of house prices and rents, where urban and rapidly growing markets show little-to-none impact compared to rural or declining areas. These insights could guide policymakers seeking to address disparities in the housing market and housing affordability.


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