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Spatial Mismatch or Racial Mismatch?

  • Judith Hellerstein
  • David Neumark
  • Melissa McInerney

We contrast the spatial mismatch hypothesis with what we term the racial mismatch hypothesis - that the problem is not a lack of jobs, per se, where blacks live, but a lack of jobs into which blacks are hired, whether because of discrimination or labor market networks in which race matters. We first report new evidence on the spatial mismatch hypothesis, using data from Census Long-Form respondents. We construct direct measures of the presence of jobs in detailed geographic areas, and find that these job density measures are related to employment of black male residents in ways that would be predicted by the spatial mismatch hypothesis - in particular that spatial mismatch is primarily an issue for low-skilled black male workers. We then look at racial mismatch, by estimating the effects of job density measures that are disaggregated by race. We find that it is primarily black job density that influences black male employment, whereas white job density has little if any influence on their employment. This evidence implies that space alone plays a relatively minor role in low black male employment rates.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2007/CES-WP-07-16.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 07-16.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:07-16
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  1. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
  2. 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, March.
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  4. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "Testing the spatial mismatch hypothesis using inter-city variations in industrial composition," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 505-532, September.
  5. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  6. Price, Richard & Mills, Edwin, 1985. "Race and residence in earnings determination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, January.
  7. Olof Aslund & John Osth & Yves Zenou, 2009. "How Important is Access to Jobs? Old Question - Improved Answer," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0925, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  8. Alan H. Peters & Peter S. Fisher, 2002. "State Enterprise Zone Programs: Have They Worked?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number sezp, March.
  9. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Manski, C.F., 1991. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: the Reflection Problem," Working papers 9127, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  11. Bayer, Patrick & Ross, Stephen L., 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 8, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  12. Ross, Stephen L., 1998. "Racial Differences in Residential and Job Mobility: Evidence Concerning the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 112-135, January.
  13. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-42, April.
  14. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 927, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  15. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2004. "Spatial Wage Disparities: Sorting Matters!," CEPR Discussion Papers 4240, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
  18. Evans, William N & Oates, Wallace E & Schwab, Robert M, 1992. "Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 966-91, October.
  19. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2000. "Black Residential Centralization and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 110-134, July.
  20. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E. & Rappaport, Jordan, 2008. "Why do the poor live in cities The role of public transportation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-24, January.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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