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Neighborhood Signaling Effects, Commuting Time, and Employment: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Carlsson, Magnus

    () (Linnaeus University)

  • Abrar Reshid, Abdulaziz

    () (Linnaeus University)

  • Rooth, Dan-Olof

    () (Stockholm University)

Abstract

The question of whether and how living in a deprived neighborhood affects the labor market outcomes of its residents has been a subject of great interest for both policy makers and researchers. Despite this interest, empirical evidence of causal neighborhood effects on labor market outcomes is scant, and causal evidence on the mechanisms involved is even more scant. The mechanism that this study investigates is neighborhood signaling effects. Specifically, we ask whether there is unequal treatment in hiring depending on whether a job applicant signals living in a bad (deprived) neighborhood or in a good (affluent) neighborhood. To this end, we conducted a field experiment where fictitious job applications were sent to employers with an advertised vacancy. Each job application was randomly assigned a residential address in either a bad or a good neighborhood. The measured outcome is the fraction of invitations for a job interview (the callback rate). We find no evidence of general neighborhood signaling effects. However, job applicants with a foreign background have callback rates that are 42 percent lower if they signal living in a bad neighborhood rather than in a good neighborhood. In addition, we find that applicants with commuting times longer than 90 minutes have lower callback rates, and this is unrelated to the neighborhood signaling effect. Apparently, employers view information about residential addresses as important for employment decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Magnus & Abrar Reshid, Abdulaziz & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2018. "Neighborhood Signaling Effects, Commuting Time, and Employment: Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 11284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11284
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olof Åslund & John Östh & Yves Zenou, 2010. "How important is access to jobs? Old question--improved answer," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 389-422, May.
    2. Per-Anders Edin & Peter Fredriksson & Olof Åslund, 2003. "Ethnic Enclaves and the Economic Success of Immigrants—Evidence from a Natural Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 329-357.
    3. Anne Bolster & Simon Burgess & Ron Johnston & Kelvyn Jones & Carol Propper & Rebecca Sarker, 2007. "Neighbourhoods, households and income dynamics: a semi-parametric investigation of neighbourhood effects," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-38, January.
    4. Kory Kroft & Fabian Lange & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2013. "Duration Dependence and Labor Market Conditions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1123-1167.
    5. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Evidence of ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labor market using experimental data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 716-729, August.
    6. Stefan Eriksson & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Do Employers Use Unemployment as a Sorting Criterion When Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 1014-1039, March.
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    10. Magnus Carlsson & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2012. "Revealing taste-based discrimination in hiring: a correspondence testing experiment with geographic variation," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(18), pages 1861-1864, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    neighborhood signaling effects; neighborhood stigma; commuting time; discrimination; field experiment; correspondence study;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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