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Spatial versus social mismatch

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  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide a new mechanism based on social interactions, explaining why distance to jobs can have a negative impact on workers’ labor-market outcomes, especially ethnic minorities. Building on Granovetter’s idea that weak ties are superior to strong ties for providing support in getting a job, we develop a model in which workers who live far away from jobs choose to have less connections to weak ties. Because of the lack of good public transportation in the US, it is costly (both in terms of time and money) to commute to business centers to meet other types of people who can provide other source of information about jobs. If distant minority workers mainly rely on their strong ties, who are more likely to be unemployed, there is then little chance for them of escaping unemployment. It is therefore the separation in both the social and physical space that prevents ethnic minorities from finding a job.

Suggested Citation

  • Zenou, Yves, 2013. "Spatial versus social mismatch," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 113-132.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:74:y:2013:i:c:p:113-132
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2012.11.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Weak ties; Spatial mismatch; Social networks; Land rent;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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