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Accessibility and Economic Opportunity

  • John M. Quigley

    ()

    (Department of Economics)

  • Katherine M. O'Regan

    ()

    (Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service)

Over thirty years ago, researchers raised the possibility of an important link between transportation, jobs and prospects for the poor. Decentralized employment, centralized minorities and poor, and inadequate transportation links in between were the context of the urban riots of the 1960's and posited as a causal factor by researchers. Given federal mandates for large-scale movement of welfare recipients into jobs, whether--and to what extent--access affects employment is still of national importance. This paper reviews developments in both the spatial context and our understanding of its importance over the past thirty years. Based primarily on Census data, we present evidence on changes in the spatial conditions facing the poor in terms of job access, transportation access, and commuting patterns. The trends suggest that some adjustments have alleviated while others heightened the mismatch. The overall picture of spatial isolation persists. We also review, rather selectively, literature on the importance of such access in determining employment outcomes. Our reading of the mixed findings is that we do have credible evidence that access matters, perhaps quite a bit, particularly for youth. Finally, we also review some of the transportation policy attempts to address this issue. From the policy perspective, however, the empirical evidence consistently shows that human capital and labor market conditions play a much more sizable role than does transportation per se.

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Paper provided by Yale School of Management in its series Yale School of Management Working Papers with number ysm100.

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Date of creation: 04 Jun 1998
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Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm100
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://icf.som.yale.edu/

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  1. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Sjoquist, David L., 1989. "The impact of job decentralization on the economic welfare of central city blacks," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 110-130, July.
  2. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Sjoquist, David L, 1990. "Job Accessibility and Racial Differences in Youth Employment Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 267-76, March.
  3. Price, Richard & Mills, Edwin, 1985. "Race and residence in earnings determination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-18, January.
  4. Vrooman, John & Greenfield, Stuart, 1980. "Are blacks making it in the suburbs? Some new evidence on intrametropolitan spatial segmentation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 155-167, March.
  5. O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1995. "Teenage Employment and the Spatial Isolation of Minority and Poverty Households," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0fm053h0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. O'Regan, Katherine M. & Quigley, John M., 1996. "Spatial Effects upon Employment Outcomes: The Case of New Jersey Teenagers," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt9v6457vv, University of California Transportation Center.
  7. Zax, Jeffrey S., 1990. "Race and commutes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 336-348, November.
  8. 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.
  9. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984. "The Interaction of Residential Segregation and Employment Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 1274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mooney, Joseph D, 1969. "Housing Segregation, Negro Employment and Metropolitan Decentralization: An Alternative Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 299-311, May.
  11. Katherine M. O'Regan & John M. Quigley, 1998. "Where Youth Live: Economic Effects of Urban Space on Employment Prospects," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 35(7), pages 1187-1205, June.
  12. Zax, Jeffrey S., 1991. "Compensation for commutes in labor and housing markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 192-207, September.
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