RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2020-07

RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2020-07


Giving up Job Search Because I Don't Have a Car: Labor Market Participation and Employment Status Among Single Mothers With and Without Cars


 Greater mobility enabled by a car is important in getting and maintaining jobs, but to what extent it affects labor market participation rate? This paper investigates both labor market participation rate and employment rate, and whether car availability in the household have any significant association with these probabilities. Our analysis show that availability of a car has positive associations with both labor market participation rate and employment rate, and the associations are particularly stronger for single mothers. Although women with children in a couple-based family households are much less likely to be labor force, single mothers who are head of households are more likely to participate in labor market and seek for jobs regardless availability of cars. After they participate in labor market, employment outcomes of single mothers are better than mothers in couple-based family households if they have cars. Predicted labor market participation rate for a thirty-year old single mother without a car can be as low as a half, while those who with a car may be almost 20% higher. Her employment rate is predicted to increase from approximately 75% to 85% if she has a car. Single mothers usually have multiple responsibilities and face severe special-temporal constraints. Greater mobility enabled by a car may increase time availability together with spatial reach, which may in turn, encourage them to become labor force.


Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration,
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: +81-78-803-7036
FAX: +81-78-803-7059

Hiroyuki ISEKI
Urban Studies and Planning Program / National Center for Smart Growth Research & Education
School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
University of Maryland, College Park