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Why do Black Workers Search Less? A Transport-Mode Based Theory

  • Zenou, Yves

We develop a search matching model in which blacks and whites are totally identical, except for the fact that they use different transport modes. We find that whites, who use faster transport modes (i.e. cars) than blacks (who use public transport), do search more intensively and extensively, and experience lower unemployment rate. Indeed, when deciding their optimal search intensities, all workers trade off short-run losses with long-run gains. However, because they use a faster transport mode, white job-seekers anticipate that they can reach jobs located further away so they can increase their maximal distance of search. This, in turn, induces firms to create more jobs, which finally motivate white workers to search more because of better opportunities. We also show that whites obtain higher wages. Indeed, in our model, each worker negotiates his/her wage with the firm using the Nash-bargaining rule. Because white workers have better outside options than blacks since their labour market tightness as well as the maximal distance of search are higher, they obtain a higher wage.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6155.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6155
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  1. H. J. Holzer, . "Why do small establishments hire fewer blacks than large ones," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1119-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  2. Brueckner, Jan & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Space And Unemployment: The Labour-Market Effects Of Spatial Mismatch," CEPR Discussion Papers 2397, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Hamilton, Jonathan & Thisse, Jacques-Francois & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Wage Competition with Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 453-72, July.
  4. Borjas, George J., 1998. "To Ghetto or Not to Ghetto: Ethnicity and Residential Segregation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 228-253, September.
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  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. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Steven Raphael & Michael A. Stoll, 2000. "Can Boosting Minority Car-Ownership Rates Narrow Inter-Racial Employment Gaps," JCPR Working Papers 200, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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  11. Smith, Tony E. & Zenou, Yves, 2003. "Spatial mismatch, search effort, and urban spatial structure," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 129-156, July.
  12. Eric Smith & Randall Wright, 1991. "Why is automobile insurance in Philadelphia so damn expensive?," Staff Report 139, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  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. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
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  17. Bound, John & Holzer, Harry J, 1993. "Industrial Shifts, Skills Levels, and the Labor Market for White and Black Males," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 387-96, August.
  18. Zax, Jeffrey S., 1991. "Compensation for commutes in labor and housing markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 192-207, September.
  19. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:835-867 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. H. J. Holzer & K. R. Ihlanfeldt, . "Customer Discrimination and Employment Outcomes for Minority Workers," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1122-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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  24. Decreuse, Bruno, 2003. "Choosy search and the mismatch of talents," MPRA Paper 3636, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2007.
  25. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  26. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1990. "The Impact of Affirmative Action Regulation and Equal Employment Law on Black Employment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 47-63, Fall.
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  28. repec:oup:qjecon:v:113:y:1998:i:3:p:835-867 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Gary A. Dymski, 2006. "Discrimination in the Credit and Housing Markets: Findings and Challenges," Chapters, in: Handbook on the Economics of Discrimination, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  30. Keith Ihlanfeldt, 1992. "Job Accessibility and the Employment and School Enrollment of Teenagers," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number jaes, April.
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  32. 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.
  33. LeRoy, Stephen F. & Sonstelie, Jon, 1983. "Paradise lost and regained: Transportation innovation, income, and residential location," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 67-89, January.
  34. Harry J. Holzer, 1998. "Why Do Small Establishments Hire Fewer Blacks Than Large Ones?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 896-914.
  35. 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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