UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Urban labour markets and transportation Tyndall, Justin


This thesis will study how transportation systems facilitate commuting, affect labour market outcomes and alter the urban spatial equilibriums of workers and firms. Workers living in cities benefit from spatial proximity to local job opportunities. The ability of workers to access the labour market is enabled by existing public and private transportation networks. Transportation policy that expands the set of opportunities faced by workers could help overcome spatial matching problems and generate welfare improvements. The first study in this thesis estimates the causal effect of New York City’s subway system on neighbourhood unemployment rates. I show that a reduction in public transportation access leads to a rise in the local unemployment rate. The second study analyses light rail transit systems in four US cities. While light rail can generate benefits in terms of improving the transportation network, induced household sorting has important consequences regarding the distribution of benefits. The third study examines the general consequences of increasing commuter mobility in US cities. Results show exogenous increases in mobility increase urban sprawl and do not result in improvements in aggregate metropolitan labour market outcomes.

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