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Social Interactions and Labour Market Outcomes in Cities

  • 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
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6129
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  1. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2006. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1403-1417, 09.
  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. Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2006. "City Structure, Job Search and Labour Discrimination: Theory and Policy Implications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 1057-1087, October.
  4. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot : Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," DELTA Working Papers 1999-10, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Neal, Derek, 2006. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  6. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2005. "The mechanisms of spatial mismatch," Research Unit Working Papers 0510, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  7. Jan K. Brueckner & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse & Yves Zenou, 2002. "Local Labor Markets, Job Matching, and Urban Location," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(1), pages 155-171, February.
  8. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "Strong and weak ties in employment and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 203-233, February.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Urban Labour Economic Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4029, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Efficiency Wages and Unemployment in Cities: The Case of High Relocation Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4058, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Jan K. Brueckner & Ann G. Largey, 2006. "Social Interaction and Urban Sprawl," Working Papers 060707, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  15. 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.
  16. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
  17. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  18. 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.
  19. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "The Effects of Social Networks on Employment and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 426-454, June.
  20. Kan, Kamhon, 2007. "Residential mobility and social capital," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 436-457, May.
  21. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521857406 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
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