Does temporary employment increase length of commuting: Longitudinal evidence from Australia and Germany

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 07/21

Date: June 2021


Inga Laß
Thomas Skora
Heiko Rüger
Mark Wooden
Martin Bujard


By definition, temporary workers, such as fixed-term, casual and temporary agency workers, have jobs that are far less stable than permanent jobs. However, surprisingly few studies have investigated whether and to what extent this lesser stability translates into longer commutes to work. Using data from the German SOEP and the Australian HILDA Survey, this article investigates the link between temporary employment and length of commutes in different institutional contexts. We compare three types of temporary workers and apply fixed-effects regression, thereby accounting for unobserved worker heterogeneity. We also estimate unconditional quantile regression (UQR) models, thus allowing us to examine how the commuting length differential varies over the commuting length distribution. The results suggest that the link between temporary employment and commuting length varies by employment type and institutional context, as well as location in the distribution. On average, agency work is associated with longer commutes than permanent work in both countries, whereas fixed-term contracts are only associated with longer commutes in Germany. Further, UQR shows these associations are often strongest in the upper end of the distribution. For casual work, mean regression suggests no commuting length differential, whereas the UQR shows negative associations for large parts of the distribution.

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