The effect of commute time on racial earnings inequality: a case study of the Houston metropolitan statistical area
Data from the United States Census confirm a substantial increase in the racial earnings gap between 1980 and 1990. This paper examines data on whites and non-white wage and salary incomes in Houston TX for 1980 and 1990. Data on time travelled to work is used to simulate what would be the impact of shorter commute times on earnings inequality. The central finding is that a reduction in travel time from residence to work would cause a very small reduction in racial earnings and income inequality. This suggests that advances in urban transportation policy alone are not sufficient to solve the problem of racial earnings inequality.