Family Migration and Career Mobility: Gender Differences in Occupational Context

Kimberlee A. Shauman, University of California, Davis
Mary C. Noonan, University of Iowa

In contrast to the positive influence long-distance mobility has on the career development of married men, for married women family migration is associated with low rates of employment, reductions in hours worked and depressed earnings growth. Empirical analyzes and explanations of this gender gap often focus on gender inequality within the family and ignore the potential influence of structural gender inequality within the labor market. In this paper we specify and test a structural explanation that attributes gender differences in the returns to migration to the uneven distribution of occupational characteristics that is produced by occupational sex segregation. We use individual- and family-level data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, occupation-level data from multiple years of Current Population Surveys and U.S. Census 5% Public Use Micro Samples, and conditional difference-in-differences models to empirically substantiate a more complete explanation of gender differences in the relationship between migration and career mobility.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being