Gender Asymmetry in Family Migration: Occupational Inequality or Interspousal Comparative Advantage?


Department of Sociology, University of California, Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA (


This paper examines gender inequality in the determinants of job-related long-distance migration among married dual-earner couples during the 1980s and 1990s. The analysis tested the structural explanation, which attributes gender asymmetry in family migration to structural inequality in the labor market, and the comparative advantage explanation derived from relative resource theory. The analysis used individual- and family-level data from 5,504 Panel Study of Income Dynamics families, occupation-level data from the 1980–2000 U.S. Decennial Censuses Integrated Public Use Micro Samples, and discrete-time event history models. Gender differences in the determinants of family migration were not explained by gender differences in occupational characteristics, but the results partially support the relative resource theory by illustrating the conditioning influence of interspousal comparative advantage.