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Local Social Capital and Geographical Mobility: Some Empirics and a Conjecture on the Nature of European Unemployment

Author

Listed:
  • Alexandre Janiak

    (Departamento de Ingenieria Industrial (DII))

  • Quentin David

    (Département de Droit de l'UL)

  • Etienne Wasmer

    (Département d'économie)

Abstract

European labor markets are characterized by the low geographical mobility of workers. The absence of mobility is a factor behind high unemployment when jobless people prefer to remain in their home region rather than to go prospecting in more dynamic areas. In this paper, we attempt to understand the determinants of mobility by introducing the concept of local social capital. Using data from a European household panel (ECHP), we provide various measures of social capital, which appears to be a strong factor of immobility. It is also a fairly large factor of unemployment when social capital is clearly local, while other types of social capital are found to have a positive effect on employability. We also find evidence of the reciprocal causality, that is, individuals born in another region have accumulated less local social capital. Finally, observing that individuals in the South of Europe appear to accumulate more local social capital, while in Northern Europe they tend to invest in more general types of social capital, we argue that part of the European unemployment puzzle can be better understood thanks to the concept of local social capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandre Janiak & Quentin David & Etienne Wasmer, 2008. "Local Social Capital and Geographical Mobility: Some Empirics and a Conjecture on the Nature of European Unemployment," Sciences Po publications 3669, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/10058
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Yogo, Urbain Thierry, 2011. "Social Network and Job Quality: Evidence from Cameroon," MPRA Paper 44936, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. David, Quentin & Janiak, Alexandre & Wasmer, Etienne, 2010. "Local social capital and geographical mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 191-204, September.
    3. Stephen Machin & Kjell G. Salvanes & Panu Pelkonen, 2012. "Education And Mobility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 417-450, April.
    4. David, Quentin & Janiak, Alexandre & Wasmer, Etienne, 2008. "Local Social Capital and Geographical Mobility: A Theory," IZA Discussion Papers 3668, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    European unemployment; geographical mobility; social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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