Theories about the importance of space in urban labor markets have emphasized the role of employment access, on the one hand, and neighborhood composition, on the other hand, in affecting employment outcomes. This paper presents an empirical analysis which considers both of these factors, together with individual human capital characteristics and household attributes in affecting youth employment.
The analysis is based upon an unusually rich sample of micro data on youth in four New Jersey metropolitan areas. The empirical analysis is based on a sample of some 28,000 at home youth, matched to detailed census tract demographic information and specially constructed measures of employment access.
The research includes a comparison of the importance of neighborhood and access in affecting youth employment when individual and household attributes are also measured. The results demonstrate the overall importance of these spatial factors (particularly neighborhood composition) in affecting youth employment in urban areas.