Job Accessibility and Racial Differences in Youth Employment Rates. Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, David L. Sjoquist The American Economic Review Volume 80, Issue 1 (Mar.,1990), 267-276. By MDM.
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Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, David L. Sjoquist
The American Economic Review
Volume 80, Issue 1 (Mar.,1990), 267-276.
Introduction Rates:Over the past thirty years, the trend in black youth employment rates has been downward relative to employment rates for white youth. Despite considerable research effort, much of the trend as well as the existing gap in employment among black and white youth remains unexplained.This problem makes it difficult to formulate policies that would effectively mitigate this important social problem.
Employment rates for Rateswhites (blacks) in November 1998 conducted by US Department of Labor16 - 19 years old enrolled in school 0.42 (0.21)16 - 19 years old not enrolled in school 0.68 (0.45)20 - 24 years old enrolled 0.58 (0.43)20 - 24 years old not enrolled 0.79 (0.66)
Hypothesis Rates:One hypothesis that may help explain both the trend and the racial gap in youth employment is that the sub-urbanizationof low-skill jobs and continued housing market segregation have acted together to reduce the job opportunities of black youth in comparison to those available to white youth.
The origins of this hypothesis can be traced back to John Kain (1968) who argued that housing segregation reduces the employment opportunities of all blacks.
First Test: RatesThe first test of the “job access” hypothesis as it relates to youth was conducted by David Ellwood (1986) using data from the Chicago metropolitan area.
He, therefore, concluded that the problem isn’t space related but race relate.
The same conclusion was also reached by Jonathan Leonard (1986a), who conducted a study similar to Ellwood’s using data for the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
His results suggested that young workers are sufficiently “fluid” in their commuting patterns to overcome any problems arising from an absence of nearby jobs.
Problems Rateswith previous papers:Leonard has suggested that Ellwood’s measures of job accessibility may have been unreliable since their construction was based on small samples.
Measurement error likely also affects this variable since the overwhelming majority of youth do not work in blue-collar jobs and the population of the commuting zone may poorly represent the number of workers competing for jobs typically held by youth.
Leonard’s own measure of job access was the number of blue-collar jobs within a 15-minute commute of each census tract divided by the population 16 years of age and older of the commuting zone.
This paper Rates:In this paper, the relationship between the nearness of jobs and youth job probability is explored using measures of job access that do not suffer from the limitations of those employed in previous work.
They chose Philly because Philly has a large number of blacks living in the suburbs and this is useful in giving them a reliable estimate.
Ihlanfeldt and Sjoquist also used a richer set of control variables and the estimation of separate equations for black and white youth broken down by age and enrollment status, and for different metropolitan areas. Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
- Most frequently used methods of job search are checking with friends, relatives and direct applications without referrals.Information on available job opportunities may decline rapidly with distance from home
To control for other factors that might effect the probability of employment, they selected individual and family background variables that have been found to be important in prior studies of youth employment.
Separate equations for white and black youth were estimated for the following four groups:
(1) 16-19, home, school
(2) 16-19, home, not in school
(3) 20-24, home, not enrolled and less than a college education
(4) 20-24, not home, not enrolled, not in the military, less than a college education
Black youth have definitely worse access to employment opportunities
3. A portion of the difference in black and white employment rates can therefore be attributed to differential job access
Variation in times was as large in CHI as in PHI. This suggests that in CHI, poor job access is more easily overcome by white youth in comparison to black youth.
This paper showed evidence supporting the validity of the job access hypothesis.
The nearness of jobs was found to have a strong effect on the job probability of both white and black youth living in PHI and differential job access was found to explain a large portion of the racial difference in youth employment rates.