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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. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2000. "Black Residential Centralization and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 110-134, July.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Åslund, Olof & Östh, John & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "How important is access to jobs? Old question - improved answer," Working Paper Series 2006:1, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. 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.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser & David C. Mare, 1994. "Cities and Skills," NBER Working Papers 4728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1997. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," NBER Working Papers 5881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. David Neumark, 1987. "Employers' discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination," Special Studies Papers 227, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  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.
  14. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  15. 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.
  16. 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, December.
  17. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  18. Price, Richard & Mills, Edwin, 1985. "Race and residence in earnings determination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, January.
  19. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," NBER Working Papers 5163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. 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.
  23. 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, December.
  24. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
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