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Economic Theory and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis

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  • Richard Arnott

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

The spatial mismatch hypothesis is that "Serious limitations on black residential choice, combined with the steady dispersal of jobs from central cities, are responsible for the low rates of employment and low earnings of Afro-American workers" (Kain, 1994, p. 371). Despite a wealth of related empirical studies, there has been little work formalising the hypothesis. This paper presents a trade-theoretic model, with three regions (downtown, suburbia and the rest of the world), four goods (a tradable home good, untraded services, a tradable foreign good and land), and two factors (skilled and unskilled workers). Blacks are constrained to live downtown but by incurring commuting costs can work in suburbia. Several exogenous changes are considered (for example a fall in transport costs between suburbia and the rest of the world) which may lead simultaneously to a fall in the downtown unskilled wage and to job suburbanisation, and which therefore provide a theoretical basis for the hypothesis.
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Suggested Citation

  • Richard Arnott, 1997. "Economic Theory and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 390., Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:390
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wasmer, Etienne & Zenou, Yves, 1999. "Does Space Affect Search? A Theory of Local Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Steven Raphael & Michael A. Stoll, 2000. "Can Boosting Minority Car-Ownership Rates Narrow Inter-Racial Employment Gaps," JCPR Working Papers 200, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    3. Smith, Tony E. & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Spatial mismatch, search effort, and urban spatial structure," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 129-156, July.
    4. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2007. "The Mechanisms of Spatial Mismatch," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(12), pages 2401-2427, November.
    5. Johnson, Rucker C., 2006. "Landing a job in urban space: The extent and effects of spatial mismatch," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 331-372, May.
    6. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2002. "Spatial Mismatch : From the Hypothesis of the Theories," Working Papers 2002-57, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    7. Mihails Hazans, 2004. "Does Commuting Reduce Wage Disparities?," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 360-390.
    8. Hazans, Mihails, 2003. "Commuting in the Baltic States: Patterns, determinants and gains," ZEI Working Papers B 02-2003, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    9. Julia Beckhusen & Raymond J.G.M. Florax & Thomas Graaff & Jacques Poot & Brigitte Waldorf, 2013. "Living and working in ethnic enclaves: English Language proficiency of immigrants in US metropolitan areas," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(2), pages 305-328, June.
    10. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2000. "Black Residential Centralization and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 110-134, July.
    11. Jan K. Brueckner & Yves Zenou, 2003. "Space and Unemployment: The Labor-Market Effects of Spatial Mismatch," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 242-262, January.
    12. Delmelle, Elizabeth Cahill & Casas, Irene, 2012. "Evaluating the spatial equity of bus rapid transit-based accessibility patterns in a developing country: The case of Cali, Colombia," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 36-46.
    13. Yannick L’Horty & Florent Sari, 2008. "Les zones urbaines sensibles en Ile-de-France : Typologie des tensions territoriales," Documents de recherche 08-10, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
    14. Raphael Bar-El, 2006. "Inter-regional labor market equilibrium: another pattern of spatial mismatch," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 40(2), pages 393-405, June.
    15. Hazans, Mihails, 2002. "Social returns to commuting in the Baltic states," ERSA conference papers ersa02p232, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    spatial mismatch hypothesis; labor markets; African Americans;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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