Commuting and Innovation: Are Closer Inventors More Productive? Andy Wu, November 15, 2019, Paper, “Commuting is costly for employees, but is it costly for employers in terms of lost productivity? We examine the direction and size of the causal effects of commuting distance on inventor productivity. We construct a novel panel of U.S. inventors with precisely measured workplace-home distances and a direct measure of productivity via patents. Our identification strategy relies upon within-city firm office relocation events as exogenous shocks to commuting distance. We find a significant negative causal effect from commuting distance on inventor productivity: every ten kilometer increase in distance is associated with a 5% decrease in patent counts per inventor-firm pair per year, and an even greater 7% decrease in patent quality. This effect is economically significant for firms, costing the latter more than $4,000 per year with conservative estimates of patent values.Link