U.S. commuting networks and economic growth: Measurement and implications for spatial policy

Stephan J. Goetz, Yicheol Han, Jill L. Findeis, Kathryn Jo Brasier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Labor market areas (LMAs) have long been a staple of regional and urban analysis. As commuting patterns have expanded over time, these areas have become larger and more complex, and the dichotomous designation of a county either belonging to an LMA or not may no longer be adequate. We apply recent advances in network science to conduct a more refined analysis of U.S. commuting patterns, and examine their effects on local economic growth. Results show that network degree and entropy measures explain variations in county per capita income growth patterns. Higher in- and out-commuting entropies are associated with lower per capita income growth, but their interaction enhances economic growth in places simultaneously open to both in- and out-commuters. Using these results, common ground may be found for creating new forms of regional governance that better reflect local realities of cross-county border flows of workers and economic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-302
Number of pages27
JournalGrowth and Change
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change

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