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Spatial mobility, professional mobility and employment inequalities

2 nd joint workshop organised by Laboratoire d’Economie Dionysien (Université Paris 8) and EconomiX (Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, CNRS UMR 7235) Université Paris Lumières, France

January 17, 2017, Université Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-La Défense, France


(to no more than 500 words; submission deadline: December 2, 2016. Decision notified by December 16, 2016.



Scientific committee

Carole Brunet (LED, Université Paris 8), Guillemette de Larquier, (EconomiX, Université Paris Nanterre), Nadine Levratto (CNRS, EconomiX, Université Paris Nanterre), Héloïse Petit (CLERSE, Université Lille 1), Géraldine Rieucau (LED, Université Paris 8), Thomas Sigaud (Centre d’études de l’emploi), Antoine Terracol (LED, Université Paris 8), Marion Tillous (LADYSS, Université Paris 8), Élisabeth Tovar (EconomiX, Université Paris Nanterre).

Organisation committee

Carole Brunet (LED, Université Paris 8), Guillemette de Larquier, (EconomiX, Université Paris Nanterre), Géraldine Rieucau (LED, Université Paris 8), Elisabeth Tovar (EconomiX, Université Paris Nanterre).

Public policies generally advocate mobility, whether geographic or occupational, as a key to labour market adjustments, by reducing unemployment and improving employability. Indeed, whether relying on matching theories or on insiders/outsiders models, economic approaches emphasize the positive correlation between access to employment and mobility. However, participants in the first workshop (July 2015, Paris 8 University) highlighted the “thickness” of individual mobility: to be mobile, individuals need to be equipped with individual resources (eg. human capital) and/or collective resources (eg. transportation means). In other words, mobility does not operate in a transparent and frictionless market; instead, mobility requires the existence of devices (related to personal networks, institutions, etc.) whose absence hinder or constrain mobility. There are thus inequalities in the ability to be mobile, in particular generated by gender, skill level, and geographic location. Beyond seeing mobility as an obligation to adapt to the constraints of the labor market, mobility is then seen as a capacity - or a capability – which economic agents are unequally equipped with. This second workshop welcomes both qualitative and quantitative works, and submissions in one of the following five areas are particularly encouraged:

  • Job-search and job- access modes, and spatial mobility
    What are the interactions between job-search and job-access modes, individual localization and mobility prospects? The scope of the labor market available to job-seekers depends on the information they have on employment opportunities, and labor market information channels have a spatial dimension: job networks might be rooted in neighborhoods, internet job-ads deliver an infinite labor market, and employment agencies circumscribe a local labor market. Are some channels more favorable than others to geographic mobility? Do government agencies or other intermediaries propose particular schemes that help both job search and mobility? What about relatives, which in the case of international migration, provide information on job opportunities and help mobility?
  • Gender differences in family constraints and mobility
    A large literature shows that marital arrangements designed to develop professional mobility play largely against women career, and that residential mobility is a predominantly male professional resource. What do we know specifically of choices carried out within couples when a professional or geographic mobility constraint appears? To what extent do these constraints weight on women career path, labour market participation, or job-quality? In addition, women are more rooted in proximity networks related to family life, and less often find their jobs by relationship than men. Do women have a specific relation to space and time, which structures their job-search and maintain gender job-segregation?
  • Job-access method and spatial mobility in youth early career
    Young entrants’ early career is usefully analysed in connection with their past or current spatial mobility, which is fairly common in early active life or while being student, given that mobility constraints strongly depend on family background and place of residence. How might public policies help relaxing constraints? Moreover, studies highlight that early career is shaped by experience of employment during studies, as re-employment with former employer during studies is becoming more frequent. More generally, what are the links between early career, occupational and spatial mobility? This question is particularly relevant in the context of international migration, which is rather the prerogative of the young.
  • Mobility and labour market polarisation
    Residential mobility coincides both with upward socio-professional mobility (such as promotion or job- access), and with downward mobility (e.g. job-loss). Do career paths support the opposition between “mobile professionals”, who benefit from a “spatial privilege”, and “popular classes”, who gain reward from their territorial anchoring? How does the injunction to mobility vary by socio-professional category? Are public policies or collective devices efficient in order to reduce spatial inequalities?
  • Mobility and social justice
    Social justice is intricated with mobility: how is mobility framed in terms of actual achievements, opportunities and control capabilities? Living in a rural area, in a high employment density zone, a deprived urban area or a highly segregated neighbourhood differently affect the opportunities for mobility and the "borders" of the labor market of individuals. Beyond access to employment, how do mobility opportunities shape access to leisure, culture, independence?