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Re-Thinking the Two-Body Problem: The Segregation of Women into Geographically Dispersed Occupations


Alan Benson


University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

September 9, 2011


Abstract:     
Family research cites the tendency for couples to relocate for husbands’ careers as evidence household economic decisions are not gender-neutral. I find the tendency for households to relocate for husbands’ careers is better-explained by the segregation of women into geographically ubiquitous occupations in advance of marriage rather than by the direct prioritization of men’s careers. While most two-earner families feature husbands in geographically clustered occupations involving frequent relocation for work, families are no-less-likely to relocate for work when it belongs to the wife. I conclude future research on household mobility should treat occupational sex segregation occurring prior to marriage, rather than bias for one sex within married couples, as the primary explanation for the prioritization of husbands’ careers in household mobility decisions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: Household Mobility, Job Search, Occupational Segregation

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Date posted: September 12, 2011 ; Last revised: September 12, 2012

Suggested Citation

Benson, Alan, Re-Thinking the Two-Body Problem: The Segregation of Women into Geographically Dispersed Occupations (September 9, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1925913 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1925913

Contact Information

Alan Benson (Contact Author)
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )
19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/amb263/
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )
77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/alanmb/www/index.htm
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