Finding work in the city
Author(s)Johnson, Jennifer R. (Jennifer Rebecca), 1970-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
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For the past three decades, rising skill requirements, increased income inequality, and the growth of suburbs as employment centers have altered the dynamics of urban labor markets. Have labor matching processes also changed in this time? And are these processes the same regardless of location? This study argues that job-finding patterns have changed in unexpected ways, that the methods used to find work differ by city, and that wage outcomes associated with those methods can also depend on location. The data for this project come from over 2500 Boston and Los Angeles respondents of the Multi City Study of Urban Inequality (MCSUI) survey, administered in the early 1990s. Research on labor matching can be categorized into two broad camps, one prioritizing the role of social factors, the other the role of spatial location. This study integrates these approaches in a series of analyses that evaluate social, spatial, and individual contributions to method use and outcomes. Despite the importance of individual characteristics, social networks, mobility, and neighborhood poverty for job finding, factors hypothesized to have an impact on method use, these variables do not account for job-finding differences between Boston and Los Angeles. After considering the cities' demographic distributions, personal contacts are still used more often in LA, by almost all groups. Findings show that Boston's labor market emphasizes formal methods over the personal contacts popular in Los Angeles, and that workers don't necessarily use the method tied to highest wages.(cont.) These findings apply to job seekers across the labor market, but are of particular relevance for poor and low-skilled workers who have difficulty finding good jobs. The spatial variation of search methods' use and outcomes has implications for researchers and policy makers concerned with issues such as workforce development and place-based employment initiatives, as well as for job seekers, employers, and organizations designed to connect the two.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2004.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 131-136).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.