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Local Social Capital and Geographical Mobility: Some Empirics and a Conjecture on the Nature of European Unemployment

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Author Info

  • Alexandre Janiak

    (Departamento de Ingenieria Industrial (DII))

  • Quentin David

    (Département de Droit de l'UL)

  • Etienne Wasmer

    (Département d'économie)

Abstract

European labor markets are characterized by the low geographical mobility of workers. The absence of mobility is a factor behind high unemployment when jobless people prefer to remain in their home region rather than to go prospecting in more dynamic areas. In this paper, we attempt to understand the determinants of mobility by introducing the concept of local social capital. Using data from a European household panel (ECHP), we provide various measures of social capital, which appears to be a strong factor of immobility. It is also a fairly large factor of unemployment when social capital is clearly local, while other types of social capital are found to have a positive effect on employability. We also find evidence of the reciprocal causality, that is, individuals born in another region have accumulated less local social capital. Finally, observing that individuals in the South of Europe appear to accumulate more local social capital, while in Northern Europe they tend to invest in more general types of social capital, we argue that part of the European unemployment puzzle can be better understood thanks to the concept of local social capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 3669.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/10058

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Keywords: European unemployment; geographical mobility; social capital;

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References

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  13. David, Quentin & Janiak, Alexandre & Wasmer, Etienne, 2010. "Local social capital and geographical mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 191-204, September.
  14. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-18, December.
  15. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
  16. Kamhon Kan, 2006. "Residential Mobility and Social Capital," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 06-A005, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
  17. Quentin David & Alexandre Janiak & Etienne Wasmer, 2008. "Local social capital and geographical mobility. A theory," Documentos de Trabajo 248, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
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Cited by:
  1. Stephen Machin & Panu Pelkonen & Kjell Salvanes, 2008. "Education and mobility," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28277, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. David, Quentin & Janiak, Alexandre & Wasmer, Etienne, 2008. "Local Social Capital and Geographical Mobility: A Theory," IZA Discussion Papers 3668, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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