Título: Three empirical essays on daily residence-work mobility and labor market areas 

Autor: Raquel Simón Albert 

Directores: José Manuel Casado e Hipólito Simón 

Universidad: Universidad de Alicante 

Fecha de defensa: 24 de mayo de 2022 

Calificación: Sobresaliente Cum Laude 


In view of the economic and social transcendence of a region's labour market on its competitiveness, the quality of life of its citizens, its economic evolution or its level of resilience to external shocks and fluctuations, this thesis focuses on analysing the employment situation of those groups that traditionally had greater impediments when it comes to take part of the labour force: immigrants and women. Two lines of work have been established for the development of the thesis. The first one (Chapters 2 and 3) examines commuting patterns based on individual data, exploring the differential behaviour which is observed according to the immigrant status, on the one hand, and gender, on the other. Both analyses are based on a rich, nationally representative database and incorporate the use of econometric techniques of decomposition that are new in this field of study, and that allow quantifying the joint and individual influence of a wide range of explanatory factors. 

Chapter 2 focuses on the differences in commuting length between native and immigrant employees in Spain, a relevant issue since immigrants' longer commuting times may reflect an imperfect spatial matching of their labour supply and demand with negative implications for their relative labour outcomes and their individual well-being. The research differentiates immigrants according to their origin. The evidence obtained shows that, although a relevant part of the explanation of the greater commuting observed for immigrants is related to observed elements such as a different use of modes of transport, they make overall significantly longer journeys when comparing with observationally similar natives. This commuting penalty occurs yet only in the case of immigrants from emerging countries, as it does not exist for those from advanced economies. Although the penalty is overall rather similar along several sociodemographic and occupational lines, it is much more pronounced for individuals living in large municipalities, which implies that previous analyses focusing on specific densely populated territories could overestimate the phenomenon. To conclude, the additional novel evidence about the potential explanations of the commuting penalty of immigrants shows that it does not seem to derive from a hypothetically greater tolerance to commuting. 

Chapter 3 examines gender differences in commuting in Spain, a relevant issue since women's shorter commuting times partially explain their poorer work outcomes. The analysis considers the importance of the level of education workers have. The evidence obtained indicates that although the shorter commuting times of women are partially explained by factors such as their greater household responsibilities, there is a systematic pattern of less mobility that persists when women are compared with men with the same characteristics. This pattern is consistent with the theoretical hypothesis that there are cultural or social constraints that restrict women's commuting and worsen their job opportunities. This circumstance is also consistent with the findings that there is no pattern of lesser mobility for certain groups of women whose behaviour is in general more assimilable to that of men, such as women without family responsibilities, and that the origin of the gender differences in commuting is not women's lesser tolerance for this phenomenon. 

The second line of work (Chapter 4) focuses on women and analyses the impact of the characteristics of the Labour Market Area of residence on their participation and employment rates in Spain. In view of the importance of regional attributes on individual employability, this analysis has made it possible to identify which regional factors favour or impede the good performance of women in the labour market. In this case, the territorial unit of analysis is the Spanish LMAs, areas which reflect the regional mobility of workers, and which are coherent when analysing labour market phenomena. The use of these territorial areas has allowed an ad hoc recoding of the microdata from the 2011 Population and Housing Census, so that it is possible to know the Labour Market Area of residence of each of the individuals in the sample. Thanks to this database, average variables of the individual behaviour recorded in the census microdata for each of the LMAs have been calculated for the first time for Spain. This type of variable reflects the average characteristics of the composition of each market, allowing for a better measurement of the phenomenon. In addition, spatial econometric methods are used to detect possible spatial relationships between markets derived from the presence of spatial autocorrelation. The evidence obtained shows the presence of notable territorial differences in the distribution of female participation and employment rates. When considering these spatial autocorrelation patterns in the models, a spatial distance matrix of 50 kilometres has been considered. The econometric results show that female participation rates and female employment rates the existence of territorial relations between the closest markets that go beyond the strictly labour-related ones and that may derive from economic or legislative aspects. Likewise, they are positively influenced by certain internal characteristics of a market, especially the presence of the service sector and the proportion of women with a higher average level of education. To check the effect of the spatial relationships of Madrid LMA with its closest LMAs, the analysis has been complemented by extending the distance matrix to 67 kilometres. In line with the previous analysis, the results confirm the existence of a pattern of local spatial autocorrelation in the distribution of the female participation rate. Alternatively, the spatial pattern observed in female employment rates becomes localized in the endogenous variable. This global pattern is characterized by the chain transmission of spatial relationships from neighbours to neighbours. These results reveal that the importance in economic and employment terms of the Madrid LMA prevails over the other markets, and the importance of using territorial units appropriate to the object of study. Thus, previous analyses carried out in this field, based on territorial units that were probably too large on average, may have overestimated the spatial effect associated with the phenomena analysed. 

RocketTheme Joomla Templates