Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Haim Ofek

Second Advisor

Phillip Nelson

Third Advisor

Solomon Polachek


Although the relative geographic immobility associated with married women--as the result of family utility maximization--is a familiar notion, its effect on the male--female wage gap has not been examined empirically, perhaps because of the unavailability of adequate data. Utilizing the 1980 Census, which for the first time identifies the locations of all respondents in metropolitan areas, the present study estimates the impact of sex-related immobility on the male-female wage gap.

To the extent that wives have less market human capital than their husbands, married women may be forced to optimize their employment mainly in the local labor market, unlike their husbands who are more likely to optimize their employment in the national labor market. If this is the case, then married women's wages will presumably be more sensitive than those of men or single women to the size of the local labor market. The empirical findings from a 1/1000 sample from the 1980 Census indicate that the positive impact of city size on earnings is in fact larger for married women than for married men; in other words, the wage gap between married men and women narrows as city size increases. Computations based on the regression results show that about 12 percent of the unexplained wage gap between married men and women may be accounted for by city size. However, the wage gap between single men and women does not seem to have a statistically significant relationship with city size.

These results are consistent with the main implications of Mincer·s hypothesis of a locational tie associated with married women. But the results do not identify which of the following two mechanisms is primarily responsible for depressing the wages of tied individuals in small labor markets: over-qualification (because of too little diversity and specialization in available jobs) or monopsony