The Geography of Jobs and the Gender Wage Gap

65 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2020

See all articles by Sitian Liu

Sitian Liu

Queen's University - Department of Economics

Yichen Su

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 8, 2020

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.

Keywords: Gender wage gap, commuting, spatial distribution of jobs

JEL Classification: J16, J22, J31, R12, R41

Suggested Citation

Liu, Sitian and Su, Yichen, The Geography of Jobs and the Gender Wage Gap (September 8, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3695052 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3695052

Sitian Liu

Queen's University - Department of Economics ( email )

94 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.sitian-liu.com

Yichen Su (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

2200 North Pearl Street
PO Box 655906
Dallas, TX 75265-5906
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/yichensu89/

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