Railway network design and regional labour markets in Sweden

Erik Johansson, Rosalia Camporeale and Carl-William Palmqvist, Research in Transportation Economics Volume 83, November 2020

Investment in railways, and transport infrastructure in general, are often motivated because they are believed to improve peoples’ accessibility to jobs. By linking together and increasing the size of labour markets, the matching between individuals and jobs is improved, and the productivity increases. Communities and municipalities lobby for investments that lead to higher accessibility and those that are successful often see inflows of people as a consequence. This paper looks at the entire Swedish railway network, at the level of service of each station and at the connectivity among stations during the morning peak hour, considering different time bands. Associations between job accessibility levels and socio-demographic features are explored and disclosed, looking at the longitudinal impacts of railway investments over 4 years (from 2011 to 2014) on annual wages. Estimating a fixed effects model, very small effects on wages have been found with the increase in the number of jobs around accessible rail stations. These preliminary results indicate that additional jobs along the rail network seem to have a marginal effect. The findings of this analysis, if communicated to planners, may assist them in assessing the effects of future railway measures to implement over the Swedish territory.

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