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Race, Segregation, and Postal Employment: New Evidence on Spatial Mismatch

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  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

The spatial mismatch hypothesis posits that employment decentralization isolated urban blacks from work opportunities. This paper focuses on one large employer that has remained in the central city over the twentieth century - the U.S. Postal Service. We find that blacks substitute towards postal work as other employment opportunities leave the city circa 1960. The response is particularly strong in segregated areas, where black neighborhoods are clustered near the central business district. Furthermore, this pattern only holds for non-mail carriers, many of whom work in central processing facilities. More recently, the relationship between black postal employment and segregation has declined, suggesting that spatial mismatch has become less important over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Leah Platt Boustan & Robert A. Margo, 2007. "Race, Segregation, and Postal Employment: New Evidence on Spatial Mismatch," NBER Working Papers 13462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13462 Note: DAE LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Card, David & Rothstein, Jesse, 2007. "Racial segregation and the black-white test score gap," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2158-2184.
    2. Collins, William J. & Margo, Robert A., 2000. "Residential segregation and socioeconomic outcomes: When did ghettos go bad?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 239-243, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-390, June.
    5. Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, 2007. "The Wrong Side(s) of the Tracks Estimating the Causal Effects of Racial Segregation on City Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 13343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-872.
    7. William J. Collins, 2001. "Race, Roosevelt, and Wartime Production: Fair Employment in World War II Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 272-286, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:10:p:2877-2907 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Alan Manning & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "How Local Are Labor Markets? Evidence from a Spatial Job Search Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(10), pages 2877-2907, October.
    3. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2010. "Is urban decay bad? Is urban revitalization bad too?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 277-289, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N92 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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