First Advisor

Kenneth J. Dueker

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Area planning & development, Urban planning, Women -- Employment, Labor supply, Commuting



Physical Description

3, v, 156 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Female labor and commuting behavior has been inappropriately approached by traditional economic and location theories. While labor economists assume that commuting is a "fixed" element of the cost-of-entrance, they ignore the spatial variation in wage rate or job opportunities. Urban economists, on the other hand, treat the variation in commuting distance as a function of household housing consumption, and a "fixed" amount of labor supply is assumed. Both assumptions are unrealistic, especially in the case of females. The major contention raised in this study is that labor supply and commuting behavior are interrelated decisions. This "simultaneity" relationship should be captured by any model studying either labor or commuting behavior. In the case of female household members, time as a scarce resource must be allocated more efficiently since women are traditionally assigned housework responsibility--be they housewives or working women. A simultaneous-equation model has been specified to simulate the household decision of appropriating its (economic and human) resources among female income-earning activities--i.e., market labor supply and commuting--and housework. Time is adopted as the measurement unit of the three endogenous variables. Demographic and environmental variables are included in order to obtain the most efficient estimation and to link the results of this research to other economic and sociological studies. A two-stage Tobit and OLS estimation procedure is employed, according to the characteristics of the data, to avoid the selection bias problem (Tobin, 1958; Killingsworth, 1983). The results derived give (empirical) support to the theoretical argument that the relationship between commuting and labor supply is not a single-direction one, suggesting that the estimation of the traditional single-equation model may well be subject to serious specification bias. The theoretical and empirical inferences provided by this study contribute to a better understanding of how a household perceives its female members' domestic service and income-earning activity. Also, theoretically, the estimation can be used to give a more precise measure of the local (potential) labor pool and a more precise prediction of the amount of (female) commuters using certain routes. All these contributions have significance with respect to the firm's location decision and production planning, and the planning for the provisions of other public services.


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Portland State University. School of Urban and Public Affairs.

Persistent Identifier