The local labour market effects of light rail transit

Many US cities have made large investments in light rail transit in order to improve commuting networks. I analyse the labour market effects of light rail in four US metros. I propose a new instrumental variable to overcome endogeneity in transit station location, enabling causal identification of neighbourhood effects. Light rail stations are found to drastically improve employment outcomes in the surrounding neighbourhood. To incorporate endogenous sorting by workers, I estimate a structural neighbourhood choice model. Light rail systems tend to raise rents in accessible locations, displacing lower skilled workers to isolated neighbourhoods, which reduces aggregate metropolitan employment in equilibrium.

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