Testing the Colocation Hypothesis before and after Family Formation: An Analysis of Power Couple Migration in the Netherlands

Niels Kooiman , Statistics Netherlands
Marjolijn Das, Statistics Netherlands

So far, hardly any evidence is found for Costa and Kahn’s (2000) hypothesis that power couples are more likely than other couples to migrate towards metropolitan areas in order to solve their “colocation problem”. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the educational profiles of men strongly dominate family migration decisions, although some recent Scandinavian studies have indicated an increased importance also of women’s human capital. This paper aims to test the colocation hypothesis in the context of the Netherlands – a country where women have reversed the gender education gap - and from a life course perspective. We analyze the effect of men’s and women’s educational attainments on couple’s migration behavior and distinguish between childless couples and families with children. We hypothesize that, since the practice of gender roles tends to become more traditional after family formation, the effect of men’s and women’s human capital on couple migration will be more egalitarian before first childbirth. The data are derived from the first waves of the Dutch Labour Force Survey between 2006 and 2015. The research population consists of all opposite-sex married and unmarried couples aged 22-45 (N=114,000 couples). We linked these individuals to register data of the System of Social Statistical Datasets (SSD) from Statistics Netherlands to track them until three years after the interview date.

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 Presented in Session 59. Family and Life Course Perspective on Internal Migration