What drives long distance commuting into Australian regions? A spatial panel model approach

Christopher Nicholas, Riccardo Welters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Impacts of long distance commuting (LDC) on a host region have been a topic of research interest for some time. Recently, however, criticisms have surfaced about the validity of studies which address this topic. Specifically, temporal variability and spatial interaction have rarely been considered. This article argues that a single model which jointly incorporates these two aspects can improve the predictive power of LDC impacts. Using spatial panel modelling, 516 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across Australia over two census periods (2006 and 2011) were used to explore drivers of LDC. It was found that local labour market characteristics had minimal influence on recruitment strategies of firms that typically use LDC. Housing affordability does not impact on the decision of non-resident workers to either migrate into a region or adopt LDC into that region. However, local service provision and the availability of rental accommodation reduces the uptake of LDC. In addition, higher turnover of the resident population erodes social capital in host regions, which reduces the attractiveness of the local area and leads to increased use of LDC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-150
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date8 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Australia
  • Long distance commuting
  • Mining
  • Regions
  • Spatial analysis


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