Exploring job accessibility in the transformation context: an institutionalist approach and its application in Beijing

There is a strong need to explore the determinants of worker's commuting time as the declines in job accessibility associated with the dramatic growth of commuting time have become a serious negative effect on the quality of urban life in megacities of China. Most well-developed theories exploring change in commuting time are based on neo-classical economic theory. This paper argues however that in the case of China institutional factors of the housing provision system and mobility management have been more important. The paper conceptualizes an institutionalist approach incorporating housing and controls over labor mobility and applies it to analyze these influences on workers' commuting time in Beijing. The analysis shows that the interaction of housing provision, the market system and the Hukou system together have significant impact upon individual commuting time allowing for worker's annual household income, occupation and transport mode. The findings suggest that the market-oriented housing reforms have changed the local jobs-housing balance that prevailed in pre-reform era and have thus induced growth of commuting time; the remaining the unfair treatment of residents according to their Hukou status may influence the floating worker's ability to connect housing and workplace opportunities that could reduce commuting time. With respect to future studies, the institutionalist approach seems to be an efficient means of exploring particular factors that emerge in the transformation of an economy.


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  • Accession Number: 01155127
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 13 2010 7:41AM