Does cross-border commuting between EU-countries reduce inequality?

Arjen Edzes, Jouke van Dijk, L. Broersma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Cross-border commuting might be a way to improve an efficient allocation of labour resources, improve the economic performance of border regions and reduce economic and territorial inequality. This study explores the impact of a set of socio-economic, infrastructural or cultural explanatory variables that drive cross-border commuting in the EU and Switzerland for all outgoing commuters from living countries and for all incoming commuters towards their working countries. We find that cross-border commuters respond in general in the theoretically expected way to wages, unemployment, accessibility, language similarity and distance. But besides these general findings we also find that, in the end, cross-border commuting is a result of push and pull factors that seem to work out differently for different groups of commuters. This may reduce the inequality at the region level both between countries and within countries, although the effects are most likely small given the relatively small number of commuters. However, the results by gender, age, education and sector show substantial differences indicating that at the level of individuals and specific groups the reduction in inequalities might be very limited and may even increase.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • cross-border commuting
  • gravity model
  • push and pull factors


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