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Telework: Urban form, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas implications

Weihua Zhao, PhD W. Larson
Economic Inquiry. October 8, 2016

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A primary motivation of telework policy is to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Using a numerical simulation of the standard urban model, we show telework causes sprawl, calling into question the idea that telework decreases energy consumption. Overall effects depend on wage changes due to telework, land‐use regulation such as height limits or greenbelts, and the telework participation rate. While energy consumption increases in some scenarios, emissions may fall due to changes in the energy mix between gasoline and other sources.