A new age of suburbanisation could be dawning

Broad adoption of remote work stands to drastically alter households’ locational calculations. Recent research by Jan Brueckner, [Distinguished Professor of economics], of the University of California, Irvine, and Gary Lin and Matthew Kahn of Johns Hopkins University considers two ways in which a transformation might unfold. People with high-productivity jobs could work remotely from anywhere, potentially severing the link between a local economy’s productivity and the demand to live there, and thus enabling a large-scale migration from high-cost cities to low-cost ones. And remote work could allow workers to spend more time at home while still occasionally commuting into the office. In that case, remote work would reduce the cost of a given commute and might thus lead metropolitan areas to become more sprawling.