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The Geography of Jobs and the Gender Wage Gap

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  • Sitian Liu

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  • Yichen Su

Abstract

Prior studies have shown that women are more willing to trade off wages for short commutes than men. Given the gender difference in commuting preferences, we show that the wage return to commuting (i.e., the wage penalty for reducing commute time) that stems from the spatial distribution of jobs contributes to the gender wage gap. We propose a simple job choice model, which predicts that differential commuting preferences would lead to a larger gender wage gap for workers who face greater wage returns to commuting based on their locations of residence and occupations. We then show empirical evidence that validates the model's prediction. Moreover, we estimate the model components: (i) the indifference curves between wages and commutes by gender, and (ii) the wage return to commuting faced by each worker. Our model shows that differential commuting choices account for about 16-21% of the gender wage gap on average, but the contribution varies widely across residential locations. The model also shows that policies that increase commute speed or density in the central city neighborhoods could moderately lower the gender wage gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Sitian Liu & Yichen Su, 2020. "The Geography of Jobs and the Gender Wage Gap," Working Papers 2028, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:88841
    DOI: 10.24149/wp2028
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    File URL: https://www.dallasfed.org/-/media/documents/research/papers/2020/wp2028.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender wage gap; commuting; spatial distribution of jobs;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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