Social Interactions, Thresholds, and Unemployment in Neighborhoods
This paper finds that the predicted unemployment rate in a community increases dramatically when the fraction of neighborhood residents with college degrees drops below twenty percent. This threshold behavior provides empirical support for "epidemic" theories of inner-city unemployment. Using a structural model with unobserved neighborhood heterogeneity in productivity due to sorting, I show that sorting alone cannot generate the observed thresholds without also implying a wage distribution which is inconsistent with that observed in microeconomic data. Social interaction effects are thus a necessary element in any suitable explanation for the data.
|Date of creation:||2000|
|Date of revision:||28 Mar 2000|
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