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Concentrating on Participation: Ethnic Concentration and Labour Market Participation of Four Ethnic Groups


  • Wenda van der Laan Bouma-Doff


Urban scholars have exhaustively studied the relationship between place of residence on the one hand and social achievements, health, exposure to crime etcetera on the other. This paper wants to contribute to this field of research by exploring statistical associations between ethnic concentration and labour market participation. It utilizes extensive survey data on the four largest ethnic groups in the Netherlands, matched with postcode-level information on the ethnic composition of the neighbourhood. The research question of the paper is whether ethnic minorities living in ethnically concentrated neighbourhoods participate less in the labour force, and if so, which mechanisms are behind this relationship. The results show that, after controlling for various individual characteristics, Moroccans living in such neighbourhoods show a lower participation rate. Neither the lack of contact with native Dutch nor having traditional values, popular explanations of negative neighbourhood effects, however, do not appear to be the social mechanisms underlying this ‘neighbourhood effect’. On the contrary, I argue that this statistical relationship exist because Moroccans are a highly marginalized, stigmatized and discriminated ethnic category, as a result of which they are confronted with barriers on both the housing and the labour market, resulting in less access to and a weak position in both core institutions of Dutch society.

Suggested Citation

  • Wenda van der Laan Bouma-Doff, 2008. "Concentrating on Participation: Ethnic Concentration and Labour Market Participation of Four Ethnic Groups," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 128(1), pages 153-173.
  • Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v128_y2008_i1_q1_p153-173

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    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets


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