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Work and Home Location: Possible Role of Social Networks

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Abstract

This research explores to what extent people's work locations are similar to that of those who live around them. Using the Longitudinal Economic and Household Dynamics data set and the US census for the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) metropolitan area, we investigate the home and work locations of different census block residents. Our aim is to investigate if people who live close to one another, also work close to one another to a degree beyond what would be expected at random. We find a significantly non-random correlation between joint home and joint work locations. Further, we show what features of particular neighborhoods are associated with comparatively higher incidences of people sharing work locations. One reason for such an outcome can be the role neighborhood level social networks play in locating jobs; or conversely work place social networks play in choosing the home location or both. Such findings should be used to refine work trip distribution models that otherwise depend mainly on impedance between the origin and destination.

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