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Public Transit and the Spatial Distribution of Minority Employment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

  • Holzer, Harry J.
  • Quigley, John M.
  • Raphael, Steven

A recent expansion of the San Francisco Bay Area’s heavy rail system represents an exogenous change in the accessibility of inner-city minority communities to a concentrated suburban employment center. We evaluate this natural experiment by conducting a two-wave longitudinal survey of firms, with the first wave of inter- views conducted immediately before the opening of service, and the second wave approximately a year later. Within-firm changes in the propensity to hire minority workers for firms near the station were compared with those located farther away. Also estimated was the effect of employer distance to the new stations on changes in propensity to hire minorities. Results indicate a sizable increase in the hiring of Latinos near the new stations, but little evidence of an effect on black hiring rates.

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Paper provided by Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy in its series Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series with number qt0f3725dm.

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Date of creation: 24 May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:bphupl:qt0f3725dm
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  1. S. Raphael & M. A. Stoll & H. J. Holzer, . "Are Suburban Firms More Likely to Discriminate Against African Americans?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1160-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  2. H. J. Holzer & K. R. Ihlanfeldt, . "Spatial factors and the employment of blacks at the firm level," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1086-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1999. "Spacial Isolation and Welfare Recipients: What Do We Know?," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt1mz642ft, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  4. Trejo, Stephen J, 1997. "Why Do Mexican Americans Earn Low Wages?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1235-68, December.
  5. Michael A. Stoll, 1999. "Spatial mismatch, discrimination, and male youth employment in the Washington, DC area: Implications for residential mobility policies," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 77-98.
  6. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Sjoquist, David L, 1990. "Job Accessibility and Racial Differences in Youth Employment Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 267-76, March.
  7. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1998. "Spatial Effects upon Employment Outcomes: The Case of New Jersey Teenagers," HEW 9803001, EconWPA.
  8. Steven Raphael, 1998. "Inter- and intra-ethnic comparisons of the central cityûsuburban youth employment differential: Evidence from the Oakland metropolitan area," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(3), pages 505-524, April.
  9. David T. Ellwood, 1986. "The Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis: Are There Teenage Jobs Missing in the Ghetto?," NBER Chapters, in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 147-190 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Daniel Immergluck, 1996. "What employers want: Job prospects for less-educated workers," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 135-143, June.
  11. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2000. "Black Residential Centralization and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 110-134, July.
  12. Michael A. Stoll & Harry J. Holzer & Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, 2000. "Within cities and suburbs: Racial residential concentration and the spatial distribution of employment opportunities across sub-metropolitan areas," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 207-231.
  13. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Young, Madelyn V, 1996. "The Spatial Distribution of Black Employment between the Central City and the Suburbs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(4), pages 693-707, October.
  14. Keith Ihlanfeldt, 1992. "Job Accessibility and the Employment and School Enrollment of Teenagers," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number jaes.
  15. Raphael, Steven & Stoll, Michael, 2001. "Can Boosting Minority Car-Ownership Rates Narrow Inter-Racial Employment Gaps?," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt4k4519pw, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  16. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do The Poor Live In Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1891, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
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