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Commuting to work and gender-conforming social norms: evidence from same-sex couples

Sonia Oreffice and Dario Sansone ()

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Abstract: We analyze work commute time by sexual orientation of partnered or married individuals, using the American Community Survey 2008-2019. Women in same-sex couples have a longer commute to work than working women in different-sex couples, whereas the commute to work of men in same-sex couples is shorter than the one of working men in different-sex couples, also after controlling for demographic characteristics, partner characteristics, location, fertility, and marital status. These differences are particularly stark among married couples with children: on average, about 3 minutes more one-way to work for married mothers in same-sex couples, and almost 2 minutes less for married fathers in same-sex couples, than their corresponding working parents in different-sex couples. These gaps among men and women amount to 50 percent, and 100 percent, respectively, of the gender commuting gap estimated in the literature. Within-couple gaps in commuting time are also significantly smaller in same-sex couples. We interpret these differences as evidence that it is gender-conforming social norms boosted by parenthood that lead women in different-sex couples to specialize into jobs with a shorter commute while their male partners or spouses hold jobs with a longer commute.

Date: 2022-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gen, nep-lab, nep-soc and nep-tre
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Working Paper: Commuting to Work and Gender-Conforming Social Norms: Evidence from Same-Sex Couples (2022) Downloads
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