Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 299–323 | Cite as

Gender ideology, division of housework, and the geographic mobility of families

Household Decision Making in Germany and South Africa


The paper studies the relevance of gender ideology for the geographic mobility of families using data from the German Socio-economic Panel. The analysis proceeds in two steps. First, it is shown that single men and women—who are in some sense “unconstrained” optimizers—reveal identical mobility patterns. There are no fundamental gender differences in the inter-regional mobility of German singles. Second, I focus on dual-earner households and split this group into “traditional” and “egalitarian” couples using information on their factual division of housework rather than their reported gender ideology. Separate migration analyses for both groups reveal important differences indicating the significance of gender ideology in families’ migration behavior: job-related characteristics of men statistically dominate those of women in traditional couples, whereas in egalitarian couples, male and female characteristics have the same effect on family migration behavior, i.e. there is no gender bias. Failure to account for the heterogeneity in gendered family roles across families thus misses an important explanatory factor in migration research.


Household decision making Migration Division of housework Gender ideology 

JEL Classifications

D13 J16 J61 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of AgingUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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