NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis: Are There Teenage Jobs Missing in the Ghetto?

David T. Ellwood

NBER Working Paper No. 1188
Issued in August 1983
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper examines the hypothesis that the extraordinarily highrates of unemployment among black youth can be linked to a geographic mismatch between the residences of black youth and the jobs they might occupy. Chicago's labor market is examined in detail. The paper reports that black youth do in fact seem to live further from jobs than white youth do. However, the differences are not great enough to generate large differences in employment rates unless geographic search costs are very high. To explore the possible impact the differences really do have,a wide variety of models are examined and estimated.These models uniformly reject the hypothesis that a geographic mismatch is a major cause for black-white differences. Blacks who live near large concentrations of jobs seem to fair only slightly better than those who live far from such concentrations. And in areas where whites and blacks live in close geographic proximity, the racial employment differences remain very large.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1188

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