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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
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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. Edward L. Glaeser & David C. Mare, 1994. "Cities and Skills," NBER Working Papers 4728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Rappaport, Jordan & Kahn, Matthew E. & Glaeser, Edward, 2008. "Why Do The Poor Live In Cities? The Role of Public Transportation," Scholarly Articles 2958224, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
  7. Åslund, Olof & Östh, John & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "How Important is Access to Jobs? Old Question - Improved Answer," Working Paper Series 661, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  8. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon, 2008. "Spatial Wage Disparities: Sorting Matters!," Post-Print halshs-00754296, HAL.
  9. 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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  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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, November.
  14. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross, 2004. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 495, Econometric Society.
  15. 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.
  16. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2000. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," NBER Working Papers 7973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Price, Richard & Mills, Edwin, 1985. "Race and residence in earnings determination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, January.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2000. "Black Residential Centralization and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 110-134, July.
  23. 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.
  24. 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, November.
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