, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 197-217
Date: 23 Nov 2011

Different Reasons, Different Results: Implications of Migration by Gender and Family Status

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Previous research on migration and gendered career outcomes centers on couples and rarely examines the reason for the move. The implicit assumption is usually that households migrate in response to job opportunities. Based on a two-year panel from the Current Population Survey, this article uses stated reasons for geographic mobility to compare earnings outcomes among job migrants, family migrants, and quality-of-life migrants by gender and family status. We further assess the impact of migration on couples’ internal household economy. The effects of job-related moves that we find are reduced substantially in the fixed-effects models, indicating strong selection effects. Married women who moved for family reasons experience significant and substantial earnings declines. Consistent with conventional models of migration, we find that household earnings and income and gender specialization increase following job migration. Married women who are secondary earners have increased odds of reducing their labor supply following migration for job or family reasons. However, we also find that migrating women who contributed as equals to the household economy before the move are no more likely than nonmigrant women to exit work or to work part-time. Equal breadwinner status may protect women from becoming tied movers.