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Social Interactions and Labour Market Outcomes in Cities

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  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Zenou, Yves, 2007. "Social Interactions and Labour Market Outcomes in Cities," CEPR Discussion Papers 6129, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6129
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gautier, Pieter A. & Zenou, Yves, 2010. "Car ownership and the labor market of ethnic minorities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 392-403, May.
    2. Dujardin, Claire & Goffette-Nagot, Florence, 2010. "Neighborhood effects on unemployment?: A test à la Altonji," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 380-396, November.
    3. Feng, Hao & Lu, Ming, 2013. "School quality and housing prices: Empirical evidence from a natural experiment in Shanghai, China," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 291-307.
    4. Andersson, Fredrik & Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia, 2009. "Do as the Neighbors Do: The Impact of Social Networks on Immigrant Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 4423, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Weinhardt, Felix, 2014. "Social housing, neighborhood quality and student performance," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 12-31.
    6. Yannis M. Ioannides & Giorgio Topa, 2010. "Neighborhood Effects: Accomplishments And Looking Beyond Them," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 343-362.
    7. Fredrik Andersson & Simon Burgess & Julia Lane, 2014. "Do as the Neighbors Do: Examining the Effect of Residential Neighborhoods on Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 35(4), pages 373-392, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labour market; land rent; social networks; spatial mismatch; weak ties;

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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