Residential self-selection and the reverse causation hypothesis

Assessing the endogeneity of stated reasons for residential choice

More Info


Residential self-selection is a well-recognized potential bias in estimating the true effects of the built environment on travel behavior. A popular method to account for residential self-selection is by including people's attitudes towards various modes as additional control variables in the regression. Yet, while attitudes may indeed influence both residential location choice and travel behavior, they may, in turn, also be affected by these factors. This paper aims to assess to what extent the built environment and travel behavior influence people's stated reasons for living in a certain location over time, which would mean that these reasons are actually endogenous to the built environment and travel behavior. To achieve this aim panel data are used from the same respondents (who did not move house)asking them at two points in time (two years apart)to state their reasons for their current residential choice. The data are modeled using a latent transition model. The results indicate that approximately 39% of the Dutch population belongs to a class which attaches importance to short distances to public transport and shops. Moreover, the distance to the train station, the amount of travel by train and car ownership at the first point in time are found to influence the probability that a person (still)belongs to this class at the second point in time, providing evidence that the built environment and travel behavior temporally precede travel related residential preferences. The results suggest that the use of stated reasons for residential choice as control variables is problematic.