Family networks and youth access to jobs

Katherine M. O'Regan, John M. Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some networks may be more useful than others in affecting labor market outcomes. In particular, social contacts who are employed may be more useful in job referral than those who are not employed. Also, social networks containing nonminority workers or male workers may have better and more extensive labor market contacts. This paper considers indirect evidence of the importance of job access via networks for the employment of urban youth. We measure the extent to which probabilities of employment and industry affiliation for urban youth are related to proxies for their access to informal networks. Proxies for labor market contacts include the labor market circumstances of other household members-mothers, fathers, and siblings-key members of a youth′s social network. The empirical analysis is based upon 1980 PUMS data with more than 55,000 observations on at-home youth in the 47 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. The large sample permits us to test for differences across race and sex of youth and parent in determining youth labor market outcomes. Our results support the importance of family networks in facilitating youth access to jobs. We also find some evidence that male parents are more important in affecting youth employment. These effects vary by race and are more important for whites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-248
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Urban Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


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