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Can the trailing spouse phenomenon be explained by employer recruitment choices?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Linköping University, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Linköping University, Sweden; Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI). Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Population, Space and Place, ISSN 1544-8444, E-ISSN 1544-8452Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

It is well known that couples tend to relocate for the sake of the man's career rather than the woman's, also known as the “trailing spouse phenomenon.” The role of employer choices in this process is unknown however. If employers are hesitant to make job offers to women who live a long way from the workplace (e.g., because of work–family balance concerns or a perceived risk that they will not follow through on their applications, or stay hired if employed), this tendency might constitute an underlying mechanism behind the moving premium of partnered men. Ours is the first study to empirically test whether employers prefer geographically distant men over geographically distant women. We sent applications for 1,410 job openings in the Swedish labour market, randomly assigning gender and parental status to otherwise equivalent applications from cohabiting or married women and men and recorded employer callbacks to these. The results indicate that employers in general tend to disfavour job applicants who live a long way from the employer's workplace. This tendency is stronger for women, both for mothers and for women with no children. Our estimated effects are imprecise but clearly suggest that employer recruitment choices contribute to the trailing spouse phenomenon by offering men a larger pool of geographically distant jobs. We call for more research on this hitherto ignored mechanism behind the trailing spouse phenomenon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
discrimination, family migration, gender, trailing spouse
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153575DOI: 10.1002/psp.2141OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-153575DiVA, id: diva2:1187551
Available from: 2018-03-05 Created: 2018-03-05 Last updated: 2018-05-23

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Brandén, MariaBygren, MagnusGähler, Michael
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CiteExportLink to record
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