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Does Space Affect Search? A Theory of Local Unemployment

  • Wasmer, Etienne
  • Zenou, Yves

The spatial dispersion of economic agents is an immediate determinant of informational imperfections. We investigate how this dispersion creates search frictions and thus rationing. For that, we develop a model of local labour markets in which workers' search efficiency is negatively affected by distance to jobs. Workers' location in a city is endogenous and reflects a trade-off between commuting costs and the surplus associated with search. Different configurations emerge in equilibrium: notably, the unemployed workers may reside far away or close to the jobs. The labour market equilibrium itself depends crucially on these urban equilibria since the aggregate information about economic opportunities depends on the shape of the city. We show that there exists a unique and stable market equilibrium in which both land and labour markets are solved for simultaneously. We then decompose unemployment in two parts: the level reached if all agents were residing in the same location and an additional term due to the spatial dispersion.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2157.

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Date of creation: May 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2157
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  1. Rogers, Cynthia L., 1997. "Job Search and Unemployment Duration: Implications for the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 109-132, July.
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  13. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
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  17. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R., 1997. "Information on the Spatial Distribution of Job Opportunities within Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 218-242, March.
  18. Coulson, N Edward & Laing, Derek & Wang, Ping, 2001. "Spatial Mismatch in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 949-72, October.
  19. Barron, John M & Gilley, Otis W, 1981. "Job Search and Vacancy Contacts: Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 747-52, September.
  20. Chirinko, Robert S, 1982. "An Empirical Investigation of the Returns to Job Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 498-501, June.
  21. Zax, J.S. & Kain, J.F., 1991. "Moving to the Suburbs: Do Relocating Companies Leave Their Black Employees Behind?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1562, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  22. Crampton, Graham R., 1999. "Urban labour markets," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 1499-1557 Elsevier.
  23. O'Regan Katherine M. & Quigley John M., 1993. "Family Networks and Youth Access to Jobs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 230-248, September.
  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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