Geography, Joint Choices and the Reproduction of Gender Inequality

Forthcoming in American Sociological Review

42 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2011 Last revised: 15 Mar 2016

See all articles by Olav Sorenson

Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management

Michael S. Dahl

Aalborg University Business School

Date Written: March 4, 2016


We examine the extent to which the gender wage gap stems from dual-earner couples jointly choosing where to live. If couples locate in places better suited for the man’s employment than for the woman’s, the resulting mismatch of women to employers will depress women’s wages. Examining data from Denmark, our analyses indicate (i) that Danish couples chose locations with higher expected wages for the man than for the woman, (ii) that the better matching of men in couples to local employers could account for up to 36% of the gender wage gap, and (iii) that the greatest asymmetry in the apparent importance of the man’s versus the woman’s potential earnings occurred among couples with pre-school age children and where the male partner had accounted for a larger share of household income before the potential move.

Suggested Citation

Sorenson, Olav and Dahl, Michael Slavensky, Geography, Joint Choices and the Reproduction of Gender Inequality (March 4, 2016). Forthcoming in American Sociological Review, Available at SSRN: or

Olav Sorenson

Yale School of Management ( email )

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
United States

Michael Slavensky Dahl (Contact Author)

Aalborg University Business School ( email )

Fibigerstraede 11
Aalborg Ø, 9220


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