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Migration of Scientists: Roles of Gender and the Family

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionAkin, Kimberlee, and Yu Xie. "Migration of Scientists: Roles of Gender and the Family." PSC Research Report No. 95-350. November 1995.

Women scientists are much more likely to be in two-career marriages than are men scientists. This study examines the argument that the higher prevalence of two-career marriages among women scientists presents a significant impediment to their geographic mobility. Three hypotheses are developed and tested. The first hypothesis is that scientists situated in two-career families are less likely to migrate than scientists situated in one-career families. The second hypothesis is that the effect of two-career marriages on the propensity of migration differs with gender, with women being more negatively affected. The third hypothesis is that the effect of children on the propensity of migration differs with gender, with women being more negatively affected. The empirical work utilizes a dataset of doctoral scientists extracted from the 5-percent Public Use Microdata Sample from the 1990 Census. While the first two hypotheses are not confirmed by the empirical results, we find evidence in support of the third hypothesis. Family constraints on women scientists' careers generally appear to be weak but become acute when they have children.

Dataset(s): Census: U.S., 1990.

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