The backward-bending commute times of married women with household responsibility
The purpose of this paper is to examine theoretically and empirically whether the commute times of married women follow a backward-bending pattern with respect to wage rates. The existing literature has shown that married women tend to choose short commutes because of their relatively low wages combined with comparatively heavy household responsibilities. However, a work–leisure model, which includes the simultaneous decision wives take regarding commute times and wage rates, suggests that married women employed in highly paid positions also undertake short commutes, while married women with wage rates in the middle range choose long commutes. These results suggest that the commute times of married women display a backward-bending pattern. Applying an instrumental variable strategy that accounts for the endogeneity of wage rates, the empirical results for employed married women in Japan appear to support this finding. Moreover, one of our results suggests that highly paid married women can still secure greater leisure time with short commutes, despite retaining a heavy load of domestic responsibilities. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
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