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Social Interactions and Labour Market Outcomes in Cities

Listed author(s):
  • Zenou, Yves

We develop a model where information about jobs is essentially obtained through friends and relatives, i.e. strong and weak ties. Workers commute to a business centre to work and to interact with other people. We find that housing prices increase with the level of social interactions in the city because information about jobs is transmitted more rapidly and, as a result, individuals are more likely to be employed and to be able to pay higher land rents. We extend this framework to incorporate black and white workers. Because whites obtain a higher wage than blacks, they reside closer to jobs to save on commuting time costs. As a result, black workers experience a higher unemployment rate than white workers because they have little contact with weak ties (especially whites) and thus have limited access to job information, relying mainly on their strong ties, who are themselves likely to be unemployed. The lack of ties that act as diverse sources of information is therefore the main cause of blacks' unemployment.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6129.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6129
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  1. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  2. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2008. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1150-1196, December.
  3. Derek Neal, 2005. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," NBER Working Papers 11090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
  5. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Working Papers 178, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Jan K. Brueckner & Ann G. Largey, 2006. "Social Interaction and Urban Sprawl," CESifo Working Paper Series 1843, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Brueckner, Jan & Thisse, Jacques-François & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Local Labour Markets, Job Matching and Urban Location," CEPR Discussion Papers 2612, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Matt Jackson, 2003. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000032, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2004. "City-structure, job search and labor discrimination : theory and policy implications," Research Unit Working Papers 0403, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  10. Gobillon, Laurent & Selod, Harris & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "The mechanisms of spatial mismatch," CEPR Discussion Papers 5346, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenouc, 2007. "Strong and Weak Ties in Employment and Crime," Post-Print halshs-00754247, HAL.
  12. Shihe Fu, 2005. "What Has Been Capitalized into Property Values: Human Capital, Social Capital, or Cultural Capital?," Working Papers 05-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  13. Zenou, Yves, 2006. "Efficiency wages and unemployment in cities: The case of high-relocation costs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 49-71, January.
  14. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
  15. Kan, Kamhon, 2007. "Residential mobility and social capital," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 436-457, May.
  16. Topa, Giorgio, 1997. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Working Papers 97-17, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  17. 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 949-972, October.
  18. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857406.
  19. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
  20. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521674096.
  21. Robert W. Helsley & William C. Strange, 2007. "Urban interactions and spatial structure," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 119-138, March.
  22. Wasmer, Etienne & Zenou, Yves, 2002. "Does City Structure Affect Job Search and Welfare?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 515-541, May.
  23. Fujita,Masahisa, 1989. "Urban Economic Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521346627.
  24. Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Urban Labour Economic Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4029, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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