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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1999. "Beyond the Melting Pot: Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," Papers 1999-10, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  5. Jan K. Brueckner & Ann G. Largey, 2006. "Social Interaction and Urban Sprawl," CESifo Working Paper Series 1843, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. 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.
  7. Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Urban Labour Economic Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 4029, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Laurent Gobillon & Harris Selod & Yves Zenou, 2007. "The Mechanisms of Spatial Mismatch," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(12), pages 2401-2427, November.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Vega-Redondo,Fernando, 2007. "Complex Social Networks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857406.
  12. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
  13. Neal, Derek, 2006. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  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. 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.
  19. Kamhon Kan, 2006. "Residential Mobility and Social Capital," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 06-A005, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  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.
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