You've Come a Long Way, Baby. Effects of Commuting Times on Couples' Labour Supply

45 Pages Posted: 1 May 2015

Date Written: March 27, 2015

Abstract

This paper explores the effects of husbands' commuting time on their wives' labour market participation and on family time allocation. We develop a unitary family model of labour supply, which includes commuting times and household production. In a pure leisure model longer commuting time for husbands increases their wives' labour market participation and reduces their own working hours. However, a model that includes household production might determine the exact opposite result. We then examine the sign of these effects by using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel from 1997 to 2010. Employer-induced changes in home to work distances allow us to deal with endogeneity of commuting times. We find that a 1% increase in a husband's commuting distance reduces his wife's probability of participating in the labour force by 1.7 percentage points, 2% over the mean. Moreover, it increases his working hours by 0.2 hours per week. The average effect masks substantial heterogeneity: lower participation rates are concentrated in couples with children and where the husband has higher levels of education.

Keywords: household production, gender economics, time allocation and labour supply, commuting time

JEL Classification: D13, J16, J21, J22

Suggested Citation

Carta, Francesca and de Philippis, Marta, You've Come a Long Way, Baby. Effects of Commuting Times on Couples' Labour Supply (March 27, 2015). Bank of Italy Temi di Discussione (Working Paper) No. 1003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2600874 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2600874

Francesca Carta

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Marta De Philippis (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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