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Accessibility and Economic Opportunity

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  • O'Regan, Katherine M.
  • Quigley, John M.

Abstract

Over thirty years ago, researchers raised the possibility of an important link between transportation, jobs and prospects for the poor. Decentralized employment, centralized minorities and poor, and inadequate transportation links in between were the context of the urban riots of the 1960's and posited as a causal factor by researchers. Given federal mandates for large-scale movement of welfare recipients into jobs, whether--and to what extent--access affects employment is still of national importance. This paper reviews developments in both the spatial context and our understanding of its importance over the past thirty years. Based primarily on Census data, we present evidence on changes in the spatial conditions facing the poor in terms of job access, transportation access, and commuting patterns. The trends suggest that some adjustments have alleviated while others heightened the mismatch. The overall picture of spatial isolation persists. We also review, rather selectively, literature on the importance of such access in determining employment outcomes. Our reading of the mixed findings is that we do have credible evidence that access matters, perhaps quite a bit, particularly for youth. Finally, we also review some of the transportation policy attempts to address this issue. From the policy perspective, however, the empirical evidence consistently shows that human capital and labor market conditions play a much more sizable role than does transportation per se.
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Suggested Citation

  • O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1998. "Accessibility and Economic Opportunity," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt94s780fq, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:bphupl:qt94s780fq
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1996. "Spatial effects upon employment outcomes: the case of New Jersey teenagers," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 41-64.
    2. Price, Richard & Mills, Edwin, 1985. "Race and residence in earnings determination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, January.
    3. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1996. "Teenage Employment and the Spatial Isolation of Minority and Poverty Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 692-702.
    4. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Sjoquist, David L., 1989. "The impact of job decentralization on the economic welfare of central city blacks," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 110-130, July.
    5. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1998. "Where Youth Live: Economic Effects of Urban Space on Employment Prospects," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 35(7), pages 1187-1205, June.
    6. Zax, Jeffrey S., 1991. "Compensation for commutes in labor and housing markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 192-207, September.
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    8. 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 267-276, March.
    9. Zax, Jeffrey S., 1990. "Race and commutes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 336-348, November.
    10. Vrooman, John & Greenfield, Stuart, 1980. "Are blacks making it in the suburbs? Some new evidence on intrametropolitan spatial segmentation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 155-167, March.
    11. Joseph D. Mooney, 1969. "Housing Segregation, Negro Employment and Metropolitan Decentralization: An Alternative Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 83(2), pages 299-311.
    12. Harry J. Holzer, 1991. "The Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis: What Has the Evidence Shown?," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 28(1), pages 105-122, February.
    13. 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.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Richard Arnott, 1998. "Economic Theory and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 35(7), pages 1171-1185, June.
    3. Jacob M. Markman & Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2003. "Does peer ability affect student achievement?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 527-544.
    4. Quigley, John M., 2002. "A Decent Home: Housing Policy in Perspective," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt8f57x42q, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    5. Gonzales, Eric Justin, 2011. "Allocation of Space and the Costs of Multimodal Transport in Cities," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt7s28n4nj, University of California Transportation Center.
    6. Williams, Sarah & Qiu, Waishan & Al-awwad, Zeyad & Alfayez, Aljoharah, 2019. "Commuting for women in Saudi Arabia: Metro to driving - Options to support women employment," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 126-138.
    7. Nolan, J. F. & Ritchie, P. C. & Rowcroft, J. E., 2002. "Identifying and measuring public policy goals: ISTEA and the US bus transit industry," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 291-304, July.
    8. Jessica Holmes & Jonathan Isham & Jessica Wasilewski, 2002. "Overcoming Information Asymmetries in Low-Income Lending: Lessons from the "Working Wheels" Program," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0244, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    9. Savage, Ian, 2010. "The dynamics of fare and frequency choice in urban transit," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 815-829, December.
    10. Gonzales, Eric Justin, 2011. "Allocation of Space and the Costs of Multimodal Transport in Cities," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt07x7h9pg, University of California Transportation Center.
    11. Jessica Holmes & Jonathan Isham & Jessica Wasilewski, 2005. "Overcoming Information Asymmetries in Low‐Income Lending: Lessons from the “Working Wheels” Program," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 72(2), pages 329-351, October.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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