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It’s driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological well-being


  • Jennifer Roberts

    () (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield Author-Person=pro228)

  • Robert Hodgson
  • Paul Dolan


In this paper, we seek to explore the effects of commuting time on the psychological well-being of men and women in the UK. We use annual data from the British Household Panel Survey in a fixed effects panel framework that includes variables known to determine well-being, as well as factors which may provide compensation for commuting such as income, job satisfaction and housing quality. Our results show that, even after all these variables are considered, commuting still has an important detrimental effect on the well-being of women, but not men, and this result is robust to numerous different specifications. We explore possible explanations for this gender difference and can find no evidence that it is due to women´s shorter working hours or weaker occupational position. Rather women´s greater sensitivity to commuting time seems to be a result of their larger responsibility for day-to-day household tasks, including childcare.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Roberts & Robert Hodgson & Paul Dolan, 2009. "It’s driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological well-being," Working Papers 2009009, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised May 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2009009

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Cashin & Hong Liang & C. John McDermott, 2000. "How Persistent Are Shocks to World Commodity Prices?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 47(2), pages 1-2.
    2. Ritva Reinikka & Paul Collier, 2001. "Uganda's Recovery : The Role of Farms, Firms, and Government," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13850, March.
    3. Cashin, Paul & McDermott, C. John & Scott, Alasdair, 2002. "Booms and slumps in world commodity prices," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 277-296, October.
    4. Ravallion, Martin & Huppi, Monika, 1991. "Measuring Changes in Poverty: A Methodological Case Study of Indonesia during an Adjustment Period," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(1), pages 57-82, January.
    5. Corden, W M, 1984. "Booming Sector and Dutch Disease Economics: Survey and Consolidation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 359-380, November.
    6. A. Wood & K. Jordan, 2000. "Why Does Zimbabwe Export Manufactures and Uganda Not? Econometrics Meets History," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 91-116.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. It’s driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological well-being
      by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-05-10 20:51:17

    More about this item


    Commuting; Happiness; Well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics

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