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Ethnic unemployment rates and frictional markets

Listed author(s):
  • Gobillon, Laurent
  • Rupert, Peter
  • Wasmer, Etienne

The unemployment rate in France is roughly 6 percentage points higher for African immigrants than for natives. In the US the unemployment rate is approximately 9 percentage points higher for blacks than for whites. Commute time data indicates that minorities face longer commute times to work, potentially reflecting more difficult access to jobs. In this paper we investigate the impact of spatial mismatch on the unemployment rate of ethnic groups using the matching model proposed by Rupert and Wasmer (2012). We find that spatial factors explain 1–1.5 percentage points of the unemployment rate gap in both France and the US, amounting to 17–25% of the relative gap in France and about 10–17.5% in the US. Among these factors, differences in commuting distance play the most important role. In France, though, longer commuting distances may be mitigated by higher mobility in the housing market for African workers. Overall, we still conclude that labor market factors remain the main explanation for the higher unemployment rate of Africans.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0094119013000533
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 79 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 108-120

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:79:y:2014:i:c:p:108-120
DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2013.06.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. George J. Borjas & Stephen G. Bronars, 1988. "Consumer Discrimination and Self-Employment," NBER Working Papers 2627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Brueckner, Jan & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Space And Unemployment: The Labour-Market Effects Of Spatial Mismatch," CEPR Discussion Papers 2397, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Gautier, Pieter A. & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Car Ownership and the Labor Market of Ethnic Minorities," IZA Discussion Papers 3814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Roland Rathelot, 2014. "Ethnic Differentials on the Labor Market in the Presence of Asymmetric Spatial Sorting : Set Identification and Estimation," Working Papers 2014-09, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
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