IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/8582.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Explaining the Black/White Employment Gap: The Role of Weak Ties

Author

Listed:
  • Zenou, Yves

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to provide a new mechanism based on social interactions explaining why minority workers have worse labor-market outcomes than majority workers. Building on Granovetter's idea that weak ties are superior to strong ties for providing support in getting a job, we develop a social interaction model where workers can obtain a job through either their strong or weak ties. In this model, it is better to meet weak ties because a strong tie does not help in the state where all best friends are unemployed. But a weak tie can help leaving unemployment in any state because that person might be employed. So there is an asymmetry that is key to the model and that explains why some workers (blacks) may be stuck in poverty traps having little contact with weak ties (whites) that can help them escape unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Explaining the Black/White Employment Gap: The Role of Weak Ties," CEPR Discussion Papers 8582, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8582
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8582
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laura Giuliano & Michael R Ransom, 2013. "Manager Ethnicity and Employment Segregation," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(2), pages 346-379, April.
    2. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Job matching, social network and word-of-mouth communication," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 500-522, May.
    3. Battu, Harminder & Seaman, Paul & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Job contact networks and the ethnic minorities," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 48-56, January.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
    6. Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2003. "Immigrant Job Search In The Uk:Evidence From Panel Data," Paul Frijters Discussion Papers 2003-2, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    7. Pierre Cahuc & François Fontaine, 2009. "On the Efficiency of Job Search with Social Networks," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(3), pages 411-439, June.
    8. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni & Jackson, Matthew O., 2007. "Networks in labor markets: Wage and employment dynamics and inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 27-46, January.
    9. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "The strength of weak ties in crime," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 209-236, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2006. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1403-1417, September.
    12. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 2002. "Job search methods and outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 505-533, July.
    13. Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "Estimating the shirking model with variable effort," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 623-637, June.
    14. Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2009. "Peer Effects and Social Networks in Education," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1239-1267.
    15. Samuel Bentolila & Claudio Michelacci & Javier Suarez, 2010. "Social Contacts and Occupational Choice," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 20-45, 01.
    16. Wheatley Price, Stephen & Michael A Shields, 2003. "Immigrant Job Search in the UK," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 220, Royal Economic Society.
    17. Michele Pellizzari, 2010. "Do Friends and Relatives Really Help in Getting a Good Job?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 494-510, April.
    18. 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.
    19. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1990. "Job Search Outcomes for the Employed and Unemployed," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 637-655, June.
    20. Daniel S. Nagin & James B. Rebitzer & Seth Sanders & Lowell J. Taylor, 2002. "Monitoring, Motivation, and Management: The Determinants of Opportunistic Behavior in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 850-873, September.
    21. Sergio Currarini & Matthew O. Jackson & Paolo Pin, 2009. "An Economic Model of Friendship: Homophily, Minorities, and Segregation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1003-1045, July.
    22. Wahba, Jackline & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Density, social networks and job search methods: Theory and application to Egypt," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 443-473, December.
    23. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects, and Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1056-1093, December.
    24. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni, 2004. "Job contact networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 191-206, March.
    25. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2011. "Employment in Black Urban Labor Markets: Problems and Solutions," NBER Working Papers 16986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Rebitzer, James B., 1995. "Is there a trade-off between supervision and wages? An empirical test of efficiency wage theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 107-129, September.
    27. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
    28. Timothy Bates, 1994. "Utilization of minority employees in small business: A comparison of nonminority and black-owned urban enterprises," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 113-121, June.
    29. Lori A. Beaman, 2012. "Social Networks and the Dynamics of Labour Market Outcomes: Evidence from Refugees Resettled in the U.S," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 128-161.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Yves Zenou, 2013. "Social Interactions and the Labor Market," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 123(3), pages 307-331.
    2. Zenou, Yves, 2013. "Spatial versus social mismatch," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 113-132.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8582. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.