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Density, Social Networks and Job Search Methods: Theory and Application to Egypt

  • Wahba, Jackline
  • Zenou, Yves

The aim of this Paper is to study the impact of the size and the quality of social networks on the probability of finding a job. We first develop a theoretical model in which individuals are embedded within a network of social relationships. Workers can obtain information about jobs either directly, or indirectly, via an employed friend belonging to their social network. We show that, conditional on being employed, the probability of finding a job through social networks - relative to other search methods - increases and is concave with the size of the network. There is, however, a critical size of the network above which this probability decreases. We also show that the probability of finding a job through friends and relatives decreases with the local unemployment rate. We test empirically these theoretical findings for Egypt using the 1998 Labor Market Survey. The empirical evidence supports the predictions of our theoretical model.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3967.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3967
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  1. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Job search by employed and unemployed youth," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 601-611, July.
  2. Pissarides, C A, 1979. "Job Matchings with State Employment Agencies and Random Search," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(356), pages 818-33, December.
  3. Marcel Fafchamps & Susan Lund, . "Risk Sharing Networks in Rural Philippines," Working Papers 97014, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  4. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Job matching, social network and word-of-mouth communication," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 500-522, May.
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  6. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1987. "Rural-urban migration in developing countries," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 28, pages 1097-1128 Elsevier.
  7. Topa, Giorgio, 1997. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Working Papers 97-17, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Assaad, Ragui, 1993. "Formal and informal institutions in the labor market, with applications to the construction sector in Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 925-939, June.
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  10. Cattell, Vicky, 2001. "Poor people, poor places, and poor health: the mediating role of social networks and social capital," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(10), pages 1501-1516, May.
  11. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  12. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  13. Mortensen, Dale T. & Vishwanath, Tara, 1994. "Personal contacts and earnings : It is who you know!," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 187-201, March.
  14. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro, 2001. "Job Search Methods and Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 349, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1996. "How Effective Are State Employment Agencies? Jobcentre Use and Job Matching in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(3), pages 443-67, August.
  16. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni, 2004. "Job contact networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 191-206, March.
  17. Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Social Networks and Labor-Market Outcomes: Toward an Economic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1407-18, December.
  18. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1990. "Job Search Outcomes for the Employed and Unemployed," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 637-55, June.
  19. Assaad, Ragui, 1997. "Kinship ties, social networks, and segmented labor markets: evidence from the construction sector in Egypt," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-30, February.
  20. McCormick, Barry & Wahba, Jackline, 2003. "Did public wage premiums fuel agglomeration in LDCs?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 349-379, April.
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