Spreading the population does not improve the functioning of the labour market

30 April 2018

Accessibility is an important factor for households and companies when choosing their location. During his PhD research into this, Yuval Kantor discovered that spreading the population across the country will not result in an improved functioning of the labour market. He investigated the relationship between accessibility and choice of location from the perspective of businesses and families. Kantor defended his PhD thesis in the field of spatial-economic studies on 16 April 2018 at VU Amsterdam. His research was funded by an NWO grant from the programme Sustainable Accessibility of the Randstad.

One of Kantor's studies concerned the direct advantages that proximity to a train station gives companies. Companies that mainly have offices attach considerable value to proximity to a train station, whereas retail companies attach more value to a location that lies somewhat further from a train station.

If a train station is not within walking distance, then proximity to it has no effect on real estate prices. 'Interestingly, the high appreciation of train stations only applies to stations with a high-quality train service, such as many intercity trains. Stations that are only served by local trains do not boost real estate prices’, says Kantor.

Another study concerned the question as to whether labour markets in densely populated regions work more efficiently than those in sparsely populated regions with respect to matching the supply and demand of jobs. Kantor's research revealed that is it not wise to base policy on the idea that the population must be spread out for a better functioning labour market.

Kantor's last study concerned the assumption that high housing costs of homeowners are one reason why homeowners are more successful in finding jobs compared with people who rent their home. This hypothesis was not supported by Kantor's findings. Therefore, paying off the mortgage earlier, which is encouraged by the current housing market policy, is not expected to have any negative effects on the functioning of the labour market.

Further information

The PhD research of Yuval Kantor entitled ‘Transport and spatial development in a multimodal network context’, which resulted in the doctoral thesis entitled ‘Urban Form and the Labour market’, was part of the programme Strategy towards Sustainable and Reliable Multi-modal Transport in the Randstad (SRMT), which in turn is part of the NWO programme Sustainable Accessibility of the Randstad. Supervisors: Prof. Jos van Ommeren and Prof. Jan Rouwendal.

The complete thesis can be downloaded from the website of VU Amsterdam.

Source: NWO