Family Migration and Gender Differentials in Earnings: The Impact of Occupational Sex Segregation
preprintposted on 23.04.2021, 13:51 by Maria BrandénMaria Brandén
Family migration is often associated with an increase in men’s income and a decrease in women’s income. Attempts have been made to explain this gender imbalance with gender differences in economic bargaining power and gender traditional ideology. This study addresses a far less studied underlying mechanism,namely the impact of occupational sex segregation. Female-dominated occupations have been suggested to have a secondary migration status, which may be why women do not gain as much as men from moving. I test this hypothesis using unique Swedish population register data, including all dual-earner couples aged 20 to 55 with at least one common child in any of the years 1998-2001, and follow how their annual earnings trajectories and changes in the women’s economic dependency in the household are associated with their migration status. Results reveal that it is not until after six years that men gain from moving. A substantial part of these gains stems from moving men working in occupations with high earnings potential. In the first few years after a move, women’s earnings trajectories suffer, to some extent because of additional children being born. Six years after a move, moving women’s earnings trajectories have recovered and are similar to those of staying women. Women’s gains, however, are still lower than men’s even after adjusting for occupational differences. Women and men gain more from moving if they are working in occupations that exist all over the country. Men also have steeper earnings trajectoriesif partnered with women in these types of occupations, regardless of whether the couple moves.