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The Geography of Jobs and the Gender Wage Gap

Sitian Liu () and Yichen Su ()

No 2028, Working Papers from Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

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 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J22 J31 R12 R41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 66
Date: 2020-10-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gen, nep-geo, nep-lma and nep-ure
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:fip:feddwp:88841

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DOI: 10.24149/wp2028

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