Economic theories suggest that due to household responsibilities and being the secondary earner, married women are restricted with regard to their geographic mobility compared with their male counterparts. This affects their spatial access to employment that is adequate for their level of qualification and results in a spatial sorting of female secondary earners in low-paying jobs. The mobility restrictions may also foster wage discrimination if local firms possess monopsonistic power. Some part of the female-male wage gap may thus be attributable to the relative immobility of married women compared to married men. As a testable hypothesis, the female-male wage gap should be more pronounced in rural regions compared to urban agglomerations because the mobility restriction becomes less binding with increasing numbers of locally available jobs. The aim of this research project is to test this hypothesis for Germany and to examine to what extent this expected relationship is due to overqualification and discrimination of women in smaller regional markets. Improving our understanding of the role of mobility restrictions in shaping labour market outcomes is important for developing policy recommendations. For this purpose, the study pays special attention to likely heterogeneities across certain sub-groups (e.g. education, household composition, migration background) which may differ with respect to the relative severity of mobility constraints of married women compared with married men.

Project duration

01.03.2009 - 31.03.2010

Project members

Prof. Dr. Melanie Arntz (Coordinator)
Dr. Alisher Aldashev