Friday, August 23, 2013

Ethnic ghettos and unemployment

Both in Europe and the United States, minorities face significantly higher unemployment rates. In addition, they live in places that are farther from work than others, or at least their commuting options make it more difficult to get to work. Are the two linked? Obviously, if you do not live where the jobs are, unemployment gets more prevalent. But one could also move, and this may be more difficult for minorities, for various reasons. But before going there, one needs to determine how much of the unemployment rate is due to this spatial mismatch.

Laurent Gobillon, Peter Rupert and Etienne Wasmer pick up on a previous paper of the latter two, which I discussed here. In this spatial search-and-matching model, commuting time acts as a friction, but can only explain a fraction of the unemployment rate gap between "majorities" and "minorities". So other factors are clearly at play. The fact that minorities are de facto confined to particular areas certainly plays a role here.


Anonymous said...

Also let's not forget that public transportation in Europe is generally good enough (at least if you live in a big city, which most minorities tend to) to make spatial mismatch irrelevant, at least in my experience. Didn't read the paper though.

Anonymous said...

In France, minority populations (mostly Africans) live in the suburbs. The natives live downtown, where the jobs are.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Then I guess this kind of depends on the country. In Belgium for instance, most minorities tend to live in urban areas, relatively close to the jobs; while white people live in the burbs/countryside and they have to commute more in general.

(- The 1st anon)