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Some spatial mismatch theorists have incorporated racial discrimination in employment into their quantitative models as a causal factor, in addition to spatial barriers, in explaining the unemployment problems of Blacks. They generally argue that racist employers are more likely to locate in the suburbs, rather than the inner city, which helps to explain why Blacks are less likely to be employed there. We take a qualitative approach to the spatial mismatch question on the basis of personal interviews with employers in the electronics industry in Los Angeles. We found that employers in black neighborhoods were just as likely as employers in non-black neighborhoods to discriminate in their hiring practices and hold preferences for workers from other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Consequently, black residential proximity to firms is unlikely to completely overcome barriers associated with racial discrimination in employment. We argue that spatial mismatch models face limitations to analyzing racial discrimination in employment that are inherent in their quantitative models.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: California State University, Northridge 2: University of California at Los Angeles

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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