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Exploring the relationship between commuting, health, well-being and job satisfaction: econometric insights

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posted on 05.05.2021, 10:22 by Mia Dinh
Commuting is an unavoidable activity of daily working life, which helps us to get from home to work and vice versa. However, such activity can be stressful and reduce the time available for family and leisure. Indeed, negative effects of commuting on health and subjective well-being (SWB) have been found in the literature. However, not many studies have investigated the influence of commuting on a commuter’s job satisfaction. With its link to performance at work, an examination of the effect of commuting on job satisfaction is likely to be useful in enhancing the general welfare of working-aged people. Moreover, apart from the individual connections with commuting, health, SWB and job satisfaction are potentially related to one another. Thus, exploring each of these three variables while controlling for the others would provide a clearer picture of the effects of commuting. Because of the endogeneity implied in these relationships, the literature has applied fixed effect (FE) models to control for time-invariant individual heterogeneity. However, the potential for reversed causality between the variables of interest calls for a more robust econometric technique to identify the causal relationships between commuting, health, SWB and job satisfaction. Without comprehensive control of multiple endogeneity sources, regression estimations can only provide association inference, rather than causal connections.

This thesis adopts a FE panel data analysis of the effects of commuting on SWB, health and job satisfaction. The first empirical study in Chapter 4 finds a negative association between commuting time and health. Private and public transport modes are both linked with deteriorating health, whereas cycling can improve it. The findings are consistent over subsamples in which regional and gendered differences are explored. Moreover, instrumental variables (IVs), together with the Generalised Method of Moments (GMM) estimator in linear FE models are employed in Chapter 5 to control for the endogeneity issues intrinsic to the study. This approach can strengthen causal insight, which is missing in the literature, and the thesis is one of the first studies to have employed IV in the investigation of potential commuting effects on health, SWB and job satisfaction. Chapter 5 identifies that longer time spent on active commuting can causally raise commuters’ health. It is also likely that active commuting can indirectly improve satisfaction at work and with overall life.



  • Business and Economics


  • Economics


Loughborough University

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© Diem My Dinh

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A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.




Simona Rasciute ; Paul Downward ; Nikolaos Argyris

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