M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 95

Does greater public transit access increase employment for the Israeli-Arab Population? A Preliminary Analysis

Diana B. Greenwald, Guy Grossman, Amir Levi



In recent years, Israeli policymakers have identified greater economic integration of the Israeli-Arab population as a pressing priority. The Israeli-Arab population experiences persistent disparities in access to public services and low rates of formal sector employment, both of which have implications for Israel's political and economic future. Two recent government resolutions -- Resolution 1539 (2010) and the larger Resolution 922 (2015) -- have offered multi-sectoral approaches to promoting economic development in Israeli-Arab localities and, thus, greater opportunities for Israel's largest minority community. In this brief, we analyze the effect public transit interventions -- an area of investment prioritized in both pieces of legislation -- on employment outcomes for Israeli-Arab citizens. Using a new dataset of public transit availability and employment across 1,322 Israeli localities, we find that an increase in the number of bus lines servicing Israeli-Arab towns is associated with a small but significant increase in employment rates between 2011 and 2015. We do not see similar effects in Jewish-majority towns, and we do not find that alternative measures of public transit access (such as the daily frequency of bus line trips or the connectivity of a town to other larger towns and cities)have as much explanatory power. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research and for the ongoing implementation of Resolution 922.

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