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The Interaction of Residential Segregation and Employment Discrimination


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  • Jonathan S. Leonard


This paper seeks to disentangle the impactof residential segregation from that of employment discrimination in determining black employment share. The major finding is that distance of a workplace from the main ghetto is one of the strongest and most significant determinants of both changes over time and levels of the racial composition of the workforce. This paper presents evidence of more heterogeneous micro labor supply within SMSA's than has usually been recognized for policy purposes. Comparing Chicago with Los Angeles, we find that distance from the ghetto has a stronger impact in Chicago, and that this effect increased during the late 1970's. In contrast, residential segregation is relatively less important indetermining workplace demographics in Los Angeles, despite its rudimentary public transit system and prototypical job dispersion. In both cities,residential segregation strongly influences black employment patterns and limits the efficacy of efforts to integrate the workplace.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1274.

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Date of creation: Feb 1984
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Publication status: published as Leonard, Jonathan S. "The Interaction of Residential Segregation and Employment Discrimination," Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 21, no. 3, May 1987, pp. 323-346.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1274

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  1. Straszheim, Mahlon R., 1980. "Discrimination and the spatial characteristics of the urban labor market for black workers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 119-140, January.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & James J. Heckman, 1974. "Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program," NBER Working Papers 0050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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