Jim crow and the spatial mismatch hypothesis
© 2020 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. Extensive research has investigated the spatial mismatch hypothesis (SMH), considering the consequences of disparities between black residential locations and opportunities for employment. In this study, we argue that the mixed evidence for the SMHmay result froma misspecification in both the historical period and themechanismswhereby spatial mismatch affects black employment.We show that substantial declines in black labor force outcomes occurred in the JimCrow era, not just the postindustrial era. We then investigate the extent to which the SMH should be formulated as a logistical problem, involving the commuting range of blacks to nonresidential sites of employment, or a problem of transit segregation and residential ecology. Analysis of censusmicrodata between 1910 and 1970 suggests that urban employment suffered when the stigma of segregation prompted black commuters to use restrictive means of transit and when black housing was separated from the homes of business owners or residential employers.
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