The Geography of Jobs and the Gender Wage Gap

55 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2020 Last revised: 19 Apr 2021

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: April 16, 2021


Prior studies have shown that women are willing to trade off higher wages for a short commute than men. We show that such gender differences in commuting preferences would lead to a gender wage gap only if the wage penalty for shortening commute time is significant, and the magnitude of the wage penalty depends on the geography of jobs. To quantify how the geography of jobs affects the gender wage gap, we estimate a static job choice model, which consists of (i) indifference curves between wages and commutes by gender, and (ii) the wage penalty of reducing commutes faced by each worker due to the spatial distribution of jobs. The model shows that gender differences in commuting choices contribute to 21% of the gender wage gap, with the geography of jobs as a key amplifying force.

Keywords: gender, commuting, spatial distribution of jobs, wage gap, wage penalty, locations, gender equity

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

Suggested Citation

Liu, Sitian and Su, Yichen, The Geography of Jobs and the Gender Wage Gap (April 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Sitian Liu

Queen's University - Department of Economics ( email )

94 University Avenue
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6


Yichen Su (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas ( email )

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

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