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Car Ownership and the Labour Market of Ethnic Minorities

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  • Gautier, Pieter A
  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

We show how small initial wealth differences between low skilled black and white workers can generate large differences in their labour-market outcomes. This even occurs in the absence of a taste for discrimination against blacks or exogenous differences in the distance to jobs. Because of the initial wealth difference, blacks cannot afford cars while whites can. Car ownership allows whites to reach more jobs per unit of time and this gives them a better bargaining position. As a result, in equilibrium, blacks end up with both higher unemployment rates and lower wages than whites. Furthermore, it takes more time for blacks to reach their jobs even though they travel less miles. Those predictions are consistent with the data. Better access to capital markets or better public transportation will reduce the differences in labour market outcomes.

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  • Gautier, Pieter A & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Car Ownership and the Labour Market of Ethnic Minorities," CEPR Discussion Papers 7061, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7061
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ethnic minorities; job search; multiple job centres; spatial labour markets; Transportation mismatch;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics

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