Spatial Mismatch or Racial Mismatch?

46 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2007

See all articles by Judith K. Hellerstein

Judith K. Hellerstein

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David Neumark

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Melissa McInerney

Tufts University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2007

Abstract

We contrast the spatial mismatch hypothesis with what we term the racial mismatch hypothesis - that the problem is not a lack of jobs, per se, where blacks live, but a lack of jobs where blacks live into which blacks are hired. We first report new evidence on the spatial mismatch hypothesis, using data from Census Long-Form respondents. We construct direct measures of the presence of jobs in detailed geographic areas, and find that these job density measures are related to employment of black male residents in ways that would be predicted by the spatial mismatch hypothesis - in particular that spatial mismatch is primarily an issue for low-skilled black male workers. We then look at mismatch along not only spatial lines but racial lines as well, by estimating the effects of job density measures that are disaggregated by race. We find that it is primarily black job density that influences black male employment, whereas white job density has little if any influence on their employment. The evidence implies that space alone plays a relatively minor role in low black male employment rates.

Suggested Citation

Hellerstein, Judith K. and Neumark, David and McInerney, Melissa, Spatial Mismatch or Racial Mismatch? (June 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w13161. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=992164

Judith K. Hellerstein (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3545 (Phone)
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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David Neumark

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

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Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States
949-824-8496 (Phone)
949-824-2182 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dneumark/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Melissa McInerney

Tufts University

Medford, MA 02155
United States

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