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Social Interactions and Labour Market Outcomes in Cities

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  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

We develop a model where information about jobs is essentially obtained through friends and relatives, i.e. strong and weak ties. Workers commute to a business centre to work and to interact with other people. We find that housing prices increase with the level of social interactions in the city because information about jobs is transmitted more rapidly and, as a result, individuals are more likely to be employed and to be able to pay higher land rents. We extend this framework to incorporate black and white workers. Because whites obtain a higher wage than blacks, they reside closer to jobs to save on commuting time costs. As a result, black workers experience a higher unemployment rate than white workers because they have little contact with weak ties (especially whites) and thus have limited access to job information, relying mainly on their strong ties, who are themselves likely to be unemployed. The lack of ties that act as diverse sources of information is therefore the main cause of blacks' unemployment.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6129.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6129

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Keywords: labour market; land rent; social networks; spatial mismatch; weak ties;

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References

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  1. Shihe Fu, 2005. "What Has Been Capitalized into Property Values: Human Capital, Social Capital, or Cultural Capital?," Working Papers 05-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2004. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working papers 2004-07, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
  3. Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Efficiency Wages and Unemployment in Cities: The Case of High Relocation Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4058, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2005. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: the Key Player," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000586, www.najecon.org.
  5. Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2004. "City Structure, Job Search and Labor Discrimination. Theory and Policy Implications," Working Papers 2004-13, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  6. Wasmer, Etienne & Zenou, Yves, 2002. "Does City Structure Affect Job Search and Welfare?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 515-541, May.
  7. Brueckner, Jan K. & Largey, Ann G., 2008. "Social interaction and urban sprawl," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 18-34, July.
  8. GOBILLON Laurent & SELOD Harris & ZENOU Yves, 2007. "The mechanisms of spatial mismatch," Research Unit Working Papers 0701, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  9. Jan K. Brueckner & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse & Yves Zenou, 2002. "Local Labor Markets, Job Matching, and Urban Location," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(1), pages 155-171, February.
  10. Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "Strong and Weak Ties in Employment and Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 5448, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 426-454, June.
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  14. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857406.
  15. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
  16. Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Urban Labour Economic Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4029, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Derek Neal, 2005. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," NBER Working Papers 11090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Coulson, N Edward & Laing, Derek & Wang, Ping, 2001. "Spatial Mismatch in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 949-72, October.
  19. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot : Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," DELTA Working Papers 1999-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  20. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  21. Kan, Kamhon, 2007. "Residential mobility and social capital," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 436-457, May.
  22. Robert W. Helsley & William C. Strange, 2007. "Urban interactions and spatial structure," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 119-138, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gautier, Pieter & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Car Ownership and the Labor Market of Ethnic Minorities," IZA Discussion Papers 3814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Feng, Hao & Lu, Ming, 2013. "School quality and housing prices: Empirical evidence from a natural experiment in Shanghai, China," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 291-307.
  3. DUJARDIN, Claire & GOFFETTE-NAGOT, Florence, . "Neighborhood effects on unemployment? A test à la Altonji," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2262, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).

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