The Labor Supply of Married Women: Why Does it Differ Across U.S. Cities?

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2007-043B

46 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2007  

Dan Black

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies

Natalia Kolesnikova

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Lowell J. Taylor

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: November 2007

Abstract

Using Census Public Use Micro Sample (PUMS) data for 1980, 1990 and 2000, this paper documents a little-noticed feature of U.S. labor markets that there is wide variation in the labor market participation rates and annual work hours of white married women across urban areas. This variation is also large among sub-groups, including women with children and those with different levels of education. Among the explanations for this variation one emerges as particularly important: married women's labor force participation decisions appear to be very responsive to commuting times. There is a strong empirical evidence demonstrating that labor force participation rates of married women are negatively correlated with commuting time. What is more, the analysis shows that metropolitan areas which experienced relatively large increases in average commuting time between 1980 and 2000 also had slower growth of labor force participation of married women. This feature of local labor markets may have important implications for policy and for further research.

Keywords: female labor supply, local labor markets, commuting time

JEL Classification: J21, J22, R23, R41

Suggested Citation

Black, Dan and Kolesnikova, Natalia and Taylor, Lowell J., The Labor Supply of Married Women: Why Does it Differ Across U.S. Cities? (November 2007). Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2007-043B. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1022585 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1022585

Dan Black (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Natalia Kolesnikova

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis ( email )

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

Lowell J. Taylor

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-3278 (Phone)
412-268-7036 (Fax)

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