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Ethnic Unemployment Rates and Frictional Markets

  • Gobillon, Laurent

    ()

    (INED, France)

  • Rupert, Peter

    ()

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Wasmer, Etienne

    ()

    (Sciences Po, Paris)

The unemployment rate in France is roughly 6 percentage points higher for African immigrants than for natives. In the US the unemployment rate is approximately 9 percentage points higher for blacks than for whites. Commute time data indicates that minorities face longer commute times to work, potentially reflecting more difficult access to jobs. In this paper we investigate the impact of spatial mismatch on the unemployment rate of ethnic groups using the matching model proposed by Rupert and Wasmer (2012). We find that spatial factors explain between 1 to 1.5 percentage points of the unemployment rate gap in both France and the US, amounting to 17% to 25% of the relative gap in France and about 10% in the US. Among these factors, differences in commuting distance plays the most important role. In France, though, longer commuting distances may be mitigated by higher mobility in the housing market for African workers. Overall, we still conclude that labor market factors remain the main explanation for the higher unemployment rate of Africans.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7448.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Urban Economics, 2014, 79, 108-120
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7448
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  1. Wasmer, Etienne & Zenou, Yves, 2002. "Does City Structure Affect Job Search and Welfare?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 515-541, May.
  2. Pierre-Philippe COMBES & Bruno DECREUSE & Morgane LAOUENAN & Alain TRANNOY, 2013. "Customer Discrimination and Employment OUtcomes: Theory and Evidence from the French Labor Market," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013016, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Robert E. Lucas & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2002. "On the Internal Structure of Cities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1445-1476, July.
  4. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2000. "Black Residential Centralization and the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 110-134, July.
  5. Zax, Jeffrey S & Kain, John F, 1996. "Moving to the Suburbs: Do Relocating Companies Leave Their Black Employees Behind?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 472-504, July.
  6. Rathelot, Roland, 2014. "Ethnic differentials on the labor market in the presence of asymmetric spatial sorting: Set identification and estimation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 154-167.
  7. Jan K. Brueckner & Yves Zenou, 2003. "Space and Unemployment: The Labor-Market Effects of Spatial Mismatch," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 242-262, January.
  8. 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.
  9. David T. Ellwood, 1986. "The Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis: Are There Teenage Jobs Missing in the Ghetto?," NBER Chapters, in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 147-190 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Romain Aeberhardt & Denis Fougère & Julien Pouget & Roland Rathelot, 2010. "Wages and employment of French workers with African origin," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 881-905, June.
  11. Hellerstein, Judith K. & Neumark, David & McInerney, Melissa, 2008. "Spatial mismatch or racial mismatch?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 464-479, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162.
  14. Bruno DECREUSE & Benoît SCHMUTZ, 2012. "Residential Mobility and Unemployment of African Immigrants in France : a Calibration Approach," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 107-108, pages 3.
  15. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-65, April.
  16. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
  17. Weinberg, Bruce A., 2004. "Testing the spatial mismatch hypothesis using inter-city variations in industrial composition," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 505-532, September.
  18. George J. Borjas & Stephen G. Bronars, 1988. "Consumer Discrimination and Self-Employment," NBER Working Papers 2627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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