Mode Choice, Commuting Cost, and Urban Household Behavior
Joseph S. DeSalvo
In this paper, we extend the partial equilibrium urban model of DeSalvo (1985) to include mode choice. DeSalvo demonstrated that the urban model of Muth (1969) was robust to the extension to leisure choice. We show that the model is robust to mode choice as well. In addition, we derive the comparative static results that commuters choose higher speed modes for longer commutes, at higher wage rates, with greater tastes for housing, and with lower housing prices. Also, for a given distance commuted, we derive the comparative static result that commuters chose shorter duration commutes at higher wage rates. Whereas it is typically assumed that marginal commuting cost is positive and non-increasing with distance, we derive these results. Moreover, we derive the results that marginal commuting cost rises with an exogenous increase in housing price and falls with increased tastes for housing. We also explore the effects of exogenous commuting-cost changes on the endogenous variables of the model. The remaining comparative static results on housing consumption and location are qualitatively the same as in DeSalvo. Copyright Blackwell Publishers, 2005
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