Research Paper Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series 2009009
It's driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological well-being
01 May 2009
In this paper, we seek to explore the effects of commuting time on the psychological well-being of men and women in the UK. We use annual data from the British Household Panel Survey in a fixed effects panel framework that includes variables known to determine well-being, as well as factors which may provide compensation for commuting such as income, job satisfaction and housing quality. Our results show that, even after all these variables are considered, commuting still has an important detrimental effect on the well-being of women, but not men, and this result is robust to numerous different specifications. We explore possible explanations for this gender difference and can find no evidence that it is due to women´s shorter working hours or weaker occupational position. Rather women´s greater sensitivity to commuting time seems to be a result of their larger responsibility for day-to-day household tasks, including childcare.