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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6129
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  1. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Strong and Weak Ties in Employment and Crime," Working Papers 180, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2004. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working papers 2004-07, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2005.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Ballester, Coralio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Who’s Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," CEPR Discussion Papers 5329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. Jan K. Brueckner & Ann G. Largey, 2006. "Social Interaction and Urban Sprawl," CESifo Working Paper Series 1843, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Neal, Derek, 2006. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  11. Kan, Kamhon, 2007. "Residential mobility and social capital," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 436-457, May.
  12. Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2004. "City Structure, Job Search and Labor Discrimination. Theory and Policy Implications," Working Papers 2004-13, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  13. Gobillon, Laurent & Selod, Harris & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "The mechanisms of spatial mismatch," CEPR Discussion Papers 5346, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Fujita,Masahisa, 1991. "Urban Economic Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521396455.
  15. 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).
  16. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857406.
  17. Topa, Giorgio, 1997. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Working Papers 97-17, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  18. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521674096.
  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. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  21. Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Urban Labour Economic Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4029, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
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