Urban search models under high-relocation costs. Theory and application to spatial mismatch

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Abstract

We develop a search-matching model in which mobility costs are so high that it is too costly for workers to relocate when a change in their employment status occurs. We show that, in equilibrium, wages increase with distance to jobs and commuting costs because firms need to compensate the transportation cost difference between the employed and unemployed workers at each location in the city. We also show that the equilibrium land rent is negatively affected by the unemployment benefit because an increase in the latter induce firms to create less jobs, which, in turn, reduces the competition in the land market. We then use this model to provide a mechanism for the observed spatial mismatch between where black workers live and where jobs are. We finally show that a transportation policy consisting in subsidizing the commuting costs of black workers can increase job creation and reduce unemployment if the level of the subsidy is set at a sufficiently high level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-546
Number of pages13
JournalLabour Economics
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009

Keywords

  • Efficiency
  • Search frictions
  • Spatial frictions
  • Spatial mismatch
  • Transportation policy

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