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Area Economic Conditions and the Labor Market Outcomes of Young Men in the 1990s Expansion


  • Richard B. Freeman
  • William M. Rodgers III


The current expansion has shattered the length of the previous longest peace-time boom and brought unemployment rates below four percent in 44 percent of metropolitan areas. We estimate the expansion's impact on the labor market outcomes of less-educated men. We find that young men, especially young African American men in tight labor markets experienced a boost in employment and earnings. Adult men had no gains, and their earnings barely changed even in areas with unemployment rates below 4 percent. Youths have higher earnings and employment in low crime states and poorer labor market outcomes in states where incarcerations are high.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard B. Freeman & William M. Rodgers III, 1999. "Area Economic Conditions and the Labor Market Outcomes of Young Men in the 1990s Expansion," NBER Working Papers 7073, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7073
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Demographic Differences in Cyclical Employment Variation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(1), pages 61-79.
    3. Bell, David N.F. & Blanchflower, David G., 2010. "Youth Unemployment: Déjà Vu?," IZA Discussion Papers 4705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Topel, Robert H, 1986. "Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 111-143, June.
    5. Lawrence F. Katz & Olivier Blanchard, 1999. "Wage Dynamics: Reconciling Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 69-74, May.
    6. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
    7. Leslie S. Stratton, 1993. "Racial Differences in Men's Unemployment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(3), pages 451-463, April.
    8. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-95-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gregory Defreitas, 1986. "A Time-Series Analysis of Hispanic Unemployment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 24-43.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adolfo Sachsida & Mario Mendonça & Paulo Loureiro & Maria Gutierrez, 2010. "Inequality and criminality revisited: further evidence from Brazil," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 93-109, August.
    2. Brosnan, Stephen, 2016. "The Socioeconomic Determinants of Crime in Ireland from 2003-2012," MPRA Paper 74118, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Davis, Elizabeth E. & Bosley, Stacie A., 2005. "THE IMPACT OF THE 1990s ECONOMIC BOOM ON LESS-EDUCATED WORKERS IN RURAL AMERICA," Working Papers 18918, Oregon State University, Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC).
    4. Mustard, David B., 2010. "How Do Labor Markets Affect Crime? New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 4856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. David C Ribar, 2000. "County-Level Estimates of the Employment Prospects of Low-Skill Workers," Working Papers 00-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "The High-Pressure U.S. Labor Market of the 1990s," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(1), pages 1-88.
    7. H. Naci Mocan & Stephen C. Billups & Jody Overland, 2005. "A Dynamic Model of Differential Human Capital and Criminal Activity," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(288), pages 655-681, November.
    8. Devah Pager, 2003. "The mark of a criminal record," Natural Field Experiments 00319, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3529-3571 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Davis, Elizabeth E. & Connolly, Laura S. & Weber, Bruce A., 1999. "Employment Outcomes For Low-Income Adults In Rural And Urban Labor Markets," 1999 Annual meeting, August 8-11, Nashville, TN 21624, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    11. De Mello Joao M & Zilberman Eduardo, 2008. "Does Crime Affect Economic Decisions? An Empirical Investigation of Savings in a High-Crime Environment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-28, December.
    12. Kenneth Couch & Robert Fairlie, 2010. "Last hired, first fired? black-white unemployment and the business cycle," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(1), pages 227-247, February.
    13. Ozkan Eren & Serkan Ozbeklik, 2014. "Who Benefits From Job Corps? A Distributional Analysis Of An Active Labor Market Program," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(4), pages 586-611, June.
    14. Richard Freeman & David G. Blanchflower, 2000. "Introduction to "Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries"," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Andrew Martin, 2000. "Social Pacts, Unemployment, and EMU Macroeconomic Policy," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 32, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    16. Rich, Lauren M., 2001. "Regular and irregular earnings of unwed fathers: Implications for child support practices," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 353-376.
    17. Sayre Edward A, 2009. "Labor Market Conditions, Political Events, and Palestinian Suicide Bombings," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 1-28, May.

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    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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