Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Thoughts on the Co-Location Problem: Evidence from Political Science "Power Couples"

Over a decade ago, my wife and I published a paper about the locational decisions made by power couples.  We documented their increased concentration in thick local labor markets such as Los Angeles, and New York City.  Such local markets feature a large number of potential employers and by locating in such an area it reduces the likelihood that one of the spouses will have to sacrifice in the name of love.  So, big cities "solve" the co-location problem.   Less urban Universities such as Cornell are well aware that they face a challenge of making sure the spouse of an academic they are trying to recruit can find work or otherwise such "rural" schools will fail in achieving their objective.

I didn't really care if highly educated singles meet in big cities, and then remain in such cities or whether highly educated married couples choose as a pair to move to a big city.  Both of these dynamic paths yield the same empirical finding.

During the 2000s with the run up in income inequality, some highly educated married women (presumably married to men earning very high incomes) reduced their hours worked and focused on family but I believe that the co-location problem persists.  Today, this political science blog threat is  worth reading . It sketches some familiar tradeoffs that households face in choosing where to live their lives and how "power" works within the household and who ultimately sacrifices what.