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Where Youth Live: Economic Effects of Urban Space on Employment Prospects

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

Abstract

This paper summarizes and synthesizes a series of empirical analyses investigating the role of urban space in affecting minority employment outcomes. It adds to the considerable (but inconclusive) literature by broadening the focus beyond transportation and the “friction of space,” and by expanding the data available for spatial research. The empirical analyses share a common framework linking “access” to youth labor market performance. The first set of results is based on aggregate data relating access to employment outcomes for black youth at the metropolitan level. Access is broadly defined to include traditional measures of geographic distance, as well as measures of social isolation or social access. Metropolitan areas in which the black poor are more spatially isolated are also found to have higher black youth unemployment rates. The second body of evidence relies on the same type of metropolitan measures, combined with individual data on youth living with at least one parent. When individual and family characteristics are controlled for, and white and Hispanic youth are also considered, metropolitan measures of social access exert distinguishable effects upon youth employment -- youth living in urban areas in which they have less residential contact with whites or the non poor are less likely to be employed. The final piece of analysis links the individual records of such youth to tract level measures of access, both social (neighborhood composition variables) and geographic (job access measures). This is accomplished through the creation of a unique data set at the Bureau of the Census. Again, after controlling for individual and family characteristics, the residential conditions of youth affect their employment. Ceteris paribus, youth living in census tracts with fewer employed adults, with fewer whites, and which are further from jobs are less likely to be employed. Results suggest that the overall effects of space on employment outcomes are substantial, explaining between ten and forty percent of the observed racial differences in employment in four urban areas examined. Of this “spatial” effect, the bulk arises from social/informational measures; job access appears to play a much smaller role. However, when measured more precisely, at the census tract level, job access does have a significant effect on youth employment. This effect is less important than other spatial influences. Spatial influences are less important in explaining outcomes than are differences in human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1997. "Where Youth Live: Economic Effects of Urban Space on Employment Prospects," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5680x1pm, University of California Transportation Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt5680x1pm
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    Cited by:

    1. Claire Dujardin & Florence Goffette-Nagot, 2005. "Neighborhood effects, public housing and unemployment in France," Post-Print halshs-00180046, HAL.
    2. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L., 2014. "Understanding housing: The intellectual legacy of John Quigley," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 3-12.
    4. Richard Arnott, 1998. "Economic Theory and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 35(7), pages 1171-1185, June.
    5. Harry W. Richardson & Peter Gordon, 2000. "Compactness or Sprawl: America's Future vs. the Present," Working Paper 8645, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
    6. Debarsy, Nicolas & Yang, Zhenlin, 2018. "Editorial for the special issue entitled: New advances in spatial econometrics: Interactions matter," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-5.
    7. Ronald McQuaid, 2006. "Job search success and employability in local labor markets," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 40(2), pages 407-421, June.
    8. O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1997. "Accessibility and Economic Opportunity," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt37h6t700, University of California Transportation Center.
    9. Peter Gordon & Harry W. Richardson, 2000. "Transportation and Land Use," Working Paper 8648, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
    10. De la Roca, Jorge & Ellen, Ingrid Gould & O'Regan, Katherine M., 2014. "Race and neighborhoods in the 21st century: What does segregation mean today?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 138-151.
    11. Louafi Bouzouina, 2006. "Densité résidentielle et ségrégation spatiale : le cas des aires urbaines françaises," Post-Print halshs-00175769, HAL.
    12. Alivon, Fanny & Guillain, Rachel, 2018. "Urban segregation and unemployment: A case study of the urban area of Marseille – Aix-en-Provence (France)," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 143-155.
    13. Muñiz, Ivan & Sánchez, Vania, 2018. "Urban Spatial Form and Structure and Greenhouse-gas Emissions From Commuting in the Metropolitan Zone of Mexico Valley," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 353-364.
    14. Deng, Yongheng & Ross, Stephen L. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Racial differences in homeownership: the effect of residential location," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 517-556, September.
    15. Louafi Bouzouina & Dominique Mignot, 2005. "Disparités de revenus à différentes échelles spatiales en France de 1985 à 2001," Post-Print halshs-00108437, HAL.
    16. Arielle John & Virgil Henry Storr, 2011. "The Sociability and Morality of Market Settlements," Chapters, in: David Emanuel Andersson & Åke E. Andersson & Charlotta Mellander (ed.), Handbook of Creative Cities, chapter 20, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Selod, Harris & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Does City Structure Affect the Labor Market Outcomes of Black Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 928, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Simmons-Mosley, Tammie X. & Malpezzi, Stephen, 2006. "Household mobility in New York City's regulated rental housing market," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 38-62, March.
    19. Sofia Wixe & Lars Pettersson, 2020. "Segregation and individual employment: a longitudinal study of neighborhood effects," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 64(1), pages 9-36, February.

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