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Where Youth Live: Economic Effects of Urban Space on Employment Prospects

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Author Info

  • Katherine M. O'Regan

    (School of Management, Yale University New Haven, CT 96520, USA, kathy.oregan@yale.edu)

  • John M. Quigley

    (Department of Economics, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 97240-3880, USA, quigley@econ.berkeley.edu)

Abstract

This paper synthesises a series of empirical analyses investigating the role of urban space in affecting minority employment outcomes. It broadens the focus beyond transport and the 'friction of space' and expands the data available for spatial research. The empirical analyses share a common framework linking 'access' to youth labour market performance. The first set of results is based on aggregate data relating access to employment outcomes for black youth at the metropolitan level. Access is broadly defined to include traditional measures of geographical distance, as well as measures of social isolation or social access. Metropolitan areas in which the black poor are more spatially isolated are also found to have higher black youth unemployment rates. The second body of evidence relies on the same type of metropolitan measures, combined with individual data on youth living with at least one parent. When individual and family characteristics are controlled for, and white and Hispanic youth are also considered, metropolitan measures of social access exert distinguishable effects upon youth employment—youth living in urban areas in which they have less residential contact with whites or the non-poor are less likely to be employed. The final piece of analysis links the individual records of such youth to tract-level measures of access, both social (neighbourhood composition variables) and geographical (job-access measures). This is accomplished through the creation of a unique data set at the Bureau of the Census. Again, after controlling for individual and family characteristics, the residential conditions of youth affect their employment. Ceteris paribus, youth living in census tracts with fewer employed adults, with fewer whites, and which are further from jobs are less likely to be employed. Results suggest that the overall effects of space on employment outcomes are substantial, explaining 10-40 per cent of the observed racial differences in employment in four urban areas examined. Of this 'spatial' effect, the bulk arises from social/informational measures; job access appears to play a much smaller role. However, when measured more precisely, at the census-tract level, job access does have a significant effect on youth employment. This effect is less important than other spatial influences. Spatial influences are less important in explaining outcomes than are differences in human capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Urban Studies Journal Limited in its journal Urban Studies.

Volume (Year): 35 (1998)
Issue (Month): 7 (June)
Pages: 1187-1205

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Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:35:y:1998:i:7:p:1187-1205

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Web page: http://www.gla.ac.uk/departments/urbanstudiesjournal

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  1. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1997. "Teenage Employment and the Spatial Isolation of Minority and Poverty Households," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm35, Yale School of Management.
  2. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984. "The Interaction of Residential Segregation and Employment Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 1274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Vincent P. Miller & John M. Quigley, 1990. "Segregation by Racial and Demographic Group: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 27(1), pages 3-21, February.
  4. Mary Corcoran & Roger Gordon & Deborah Laren & Gary Solon, 1992. "The Association between Men's Economic Status and Their Family and Community Origins," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(4), pages 575-601.
  5. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Sjoquist, David L, 1990. "Job Accessibility and Racial Differences in Youth Employment Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 267-76, March.
  6. O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1991. "Labor market access and labor market outcomes for urban youth," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 277-293, July.
  7. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  8. Ihlanfeldt Keith R., 1993. "Intra-urban Job Accessibility and Hispanic Youth Employment Rates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 254-271, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Florence Goffette-Nagot & Claire Dujardin, 2005. "Neighborhood effects, public housing and unemployment in France," Working Papers 0505, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  2. Louafi Bouzouina, 2006. "Densité résidentielle et ségrégation spatiale : le cas des aires urbaines françaises," Post-Print halshs-00175769, HAL.
  3. Simmons-Mosley, Tammie X. & Malpezzi, Stephen, 2006. "Household mobility in New York City's regulated rental housing market," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 38-62, March.
  4. O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1998. "Accessibility and Economic Opportunity," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt94s780fq, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  5. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  6. Selod, Harris & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Does City Structure Affect the Labor Market Outcomes of Black Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 928, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Louafi Bouzouina & Dominique Mignot, 2005. "Disparités de revenus à différentes échelles spatiales en France de 1985 à 2001," Post-Print halshs-00108437, HAL.
  8. Ronald McQuaid, 2006. "Job search success and employability in local labor markets," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 407-421, June.
  9. Deng, Yongheng & Ross, Stephen L. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Racial differences in homeownership: the effect of residential location," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 517-556, September.
  10. Richard Arnott, 1997. "Economic Theory and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 390., Boston College Department of Economics.

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