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Urban Unemployment, Agglomeration and Transportation Policies

  • Zenou, Yves

We study the role of unemployment in the context of the endogeneous formation of a monocentric city in which firms set efficiency wages to deter shirking. We first show that, in equilibrium, the employed locate at the vicinity of the city-centre, the unemployed reside at the city-edge and firms set up in the city-centre. We then show that there is a `spatial mismatch' between location and jobs because the further away from jobs the unemployed, the larger the level of unemployment. Finally, we derive some policy implications. We show that a policy that improves the city transportation network (by subsidizing the commuting costs of all workers) reduces urban unemployment, increasing utilities of all workers but also raising inequality, whereas a policy that supports the transportation of the unemployed only (by subsidizing their commuting costs) increases urban unemployment, not always raising workers' utilities, but reducing inequality.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2309.

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Date of creation: Dec 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2309
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  1. Fujita, M. & Thisse, J.-F., . "Economics of agglomeration," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1250, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Fujita,Masahisa, 1989. "Urban Economic Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521346627, June.
  3. Smith, Tony E. & Zenou, Yves, 1997. "Dual Labor Markets, Urban Unemployment, and Multicentric Cities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 185-214, September.
  4. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  5. Zenou, Yves & Smith, Tony E., 1995. "Efficiency wages, involuntary unemployment and urban spatial structure," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 547-573, August.
  6. Brueckner, J.K. & Thisse, J.-F. & Zenou, Y., 1996. "Why is central Paris rich and downtown Detroit poor ? An amenity-based theory," CORE Discussion Papers 1996065, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. 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.
  8. Ingram, Gregory K. & Carroll, Alan, 1981. "The spatial structure of Latin American cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 257-273, March.
  9. E Borukhov & O Hochman, 1977. "Optimum and Market Equilibrium in a Model of a City without a Predetermined Center," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 9(8), pages 849-856, August.
  10. E Borukhov & O Hochman, 1977. "Optimum and market equilibrium in a model of a city without a predetemined center," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 9(8), pages 849-856, August.
  11. Jan K. Brueckner & Yves Zenou, 2003. "Space and Unemployment: The Labor-Market Effects of Spatial Mismatch," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 242-262, January.
  12. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1997. "Structural stability and evolution of urban systems," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 399-442, August.
  14. Thomas, Jonathan M., 1998. "Ethnic Variation in Commuting Propensity and Unemployment Spells: Some U.K. Evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 385-400, May.
  15. Albrecht, James & Axell, Bo, 1983. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Working Papers 83-10, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  16. Brueckner, Jan K. & Martin, Richard W., 1997. "Spatial mismatch: An equilibrium analysis," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 693-714, November.
  17. Wasmer, Etienne & Zenou, Yves, 1999. "Does Space Affect Search? A Theory of Local Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 2157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Fujita, Masahisa & Krugman, Paul, 1995. "When is the economy monocentric?: von Thunen and Chamberlin unified," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 505-528, August.
  19. Papageorgiou, Yorgo Y & Smith, Terrence R, 1983. "Agglomeration as Local Instability of Spatially Uniform Steady-States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1109-19, July.
  20. repec:cor:louvrp:-1171 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Ihlanfeldt Keith R., 1993. "Intra-urban Job Accessibility and Hispanic Youth Employment Rates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 254-271, March.
  22. 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.
  23. Brueckner, Jan K., 1987. "The structure of urban equilibria: A unified treatment of the muth-mills model," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 821-845 Elsevier.
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