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Measuring the Importance of Labor Market Networks


  • Hellerstein, Judith K.

    () (University of Maryland)

  • McInerney, Melissa

    () (College of William and Mary)

  • Neumark, David

    () (University of California, Irvine)


We specify and implement a test for the importance of network effects in determining the establishments at which people work, using recently-constructed matched employer-employee data at the establishment level. We explicitly measure the importance of network effects for groups broken out by race, ethnicity, and various measures of skill, for networks generated by residential proximity. The evidence indicates that labor market networks play an important role in hiring, more so for minorities and the less-skilled, especially among Hispanics, and that labor market networks appear to be race-based.

Suggested Citation

  • Hellerstein, Judith K. & McInerney, Melissa & Neumark, David, 2008. "Measuring the Importance of Labor Market Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 3750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3750

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Uta Schönberg & Herbert Brücker, 2016. "Referral-based Job Search Networks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 514-546.
    2. Deepti Goel & Kevin Lang, 2009. "Social Ties and the Job Search of Recent Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 15186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fredrik Andersson & Mónica García-Pérez & John Haltiwanger & Kristin McCue & Seth Sanders, 2014. "Workplace Concentration of Immigrants," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2281-2306, December.
    4. Baltagi, Badi H. & Deng, Ying & Ma, Xiangjun, 2017. "Network Effects on Labor Contracts of Internal Migrants in China: A Spatial Autoregressive Model," IZA Discussion Papers 10926, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Delia Furtado & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2009. "Intermarriage and Immigrant Employment: The Role of Networks," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 3-2009, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    6. Jeanne Lafortune & José Tessada, 2012. "Smooth(er) Landing? The Dynamic Role of Networks in the Location and Occupational Choice of Immigrants," Working Papers ClioLab 14, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
    7. Ian M. Schmutte, 2015. "Job Referral Networks and the Determination of Earnings in Local Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-32.
    8. Meta Brown & Elizabeth Setren & Giorgio Topa, 2016. "Do Informal Referrals Lead to Better Matches? Evidence from a Firm's Employee Referral System," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 161-209.
    9. Eva Arceo, 2010. "Job Search, Social Interactions and Labor Market Performance of Low-Skilled Immigrants," Working papers DTE 489, CIDE, División de Economía.
    10. Cassar, Alessandra & Rigdon, Mary, 2011. "Trust and trustworthiness in networked exchange," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 282-303, March.
    11. Judith K. Hellerstein & Melissa Mcinerney & David Neumark, 2010. "Spatial Mismatch, Immigrant Networks, and Hispanic Employment in the United States," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 99-100, pages 141-167.
    12. Xin, Guangyi, 2017. "Social Interaction and Labour Market Outcomes," MPRA Paper 80976, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Simon Gemkow & Michael Neugart, 2011. "Referral hiring, endogenous social networks, and inequality: an agent-based analysis," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 703-719, October.
    14. Badi H. Baltagi & YingDeng & Xiangjun Ma, 2017. "Network Effects on LaborContracts of Internal Migrants in China- A Spatial Autoregressive Model," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 207, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

    More about this item


    immigrants; networks; race; ethnicity;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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