Research Papers: Jorge De la Roca

Does Segregation Matter for Latinos?

By Jorge De la Roca, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Justin Steil

Journal for Housing Economics


We estimate the effects of residential racial segregation on socio-economic outcomes for native-born Latino young adults over the past three decades. Using individual public use micro-data samples from the Census and a novel instrumental variable, we find that higher levels of metropolitan area segregation have negative effects on Latino young adults’ likelihood of being either employed or in school, on the likelihood of working in a professional occupation, and on income. The negative effects of segregation are somewhat larger for Latinos than for African Americans. Controlling for Latino and white exposure to neighborhood poverty, neighbors with college degrees, and industries that saw large increases in high-skill employment explains between one half and two thirds of the association between Latino-white segregation and Latino-white gaps in outcomes.

Learning by Working in Big Cities

By Diego Puga, Jorge De la Roca

Review of Economic Studies


Individual earnings are higher in bigger cities. We consider three reasons: spatial sorting of initially more productive workers, static advantages from workers’ current location, and learning by working in bigger cities. Using rich administrative data for Spain, we find that workers in bigger cities do not have higher initial unobserved ability as reflected in fixed-effects. Instead, they obtain an immediate static premium and accumulate more valuable experience. The additional value of experience in bigger cities persists after leaving and is stronger for those with higher initial ability. This explains both the higher mean and greater dispersion of earnings in bigger cities.

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