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Spatial versus Social Mismatch: The Strength of Weak Ties

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  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide a new mechanism based on social interactions explaining why distance to jobs can have a negative impact on workers' labor-market outcomes, especially ethnic minorities. Building on Granovetter's idea that weak ties are superior to strong ties for providing support in getting a job, we develop a model in which workers who live far away from jobs tend to have less connections to weak ties. Because of the lack of good public transportation in the US, it is costly (both in terms of time and money) to commute to business centers to meet other types of people who can provide other source of information about jobs. If distant minority workers mainly rely on their strong ties, who are more likely to be unemployed, there is then little chance of escaping unemployment. It is therefore the separation in both the social and physical space that prevents ethnic minorities finding a job.

Suggested Citation

  • Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Spatial versus Social Mismatch: The Strength of Weak Ties," CEPR Discussion Papers 8244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8244
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nathan, Max, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7653, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Baert, Stijn & Cockx, Bart, 2013. "Pure ethnic gaps in educational attainment and school to work transitions: When do they arise?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 276-294.
    3. Nora Ruth Libertun de Duren, 2017. "La carga de la vivienda de interés social: Comparación entre hogares de la periferia y del centro en ciudades de Brasil, Colombia y México," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 8417, Inter-American Development Bank.
    4. Max Nathan, 2011. "Ethnic Inventors, Diversity and Innovation in the UK: Evidence from Patents Microdata," SERC Discussion Papers 0092, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    5. Nathan, Max, 2013. "Top team demographics, innovation and business performance: findings from English firms and cities 2008-9," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59250, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor market; land rent; social networks; 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
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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