Causal Mechanisms, Job Search and the Labour Market Spatial Mismatch: A Realist Criticism of the Neo-positivist Method

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

Many studies of the labour market spatial mismatch rely on the deductivenomological
model of causation to test the theory that low-skilled, inner-city
residents have been isolated from the knowledge of job opportunities by the
suburbanization of jobs. The logic of this approach follows the deductivenomological
model of explanation which establishes causation by measuring
the constant conjunctions between ‘causes’ and ‘effects’. As an alternative, I
have used a realist approach to the study of the labour market spatial
mismatch that uses a ‘causal-explanatory’ method. This approach entails the
qualitative description of the causal mechanism in order to discover and
conceptualize its causal properties. The results suggest that the spatial
mismatch theory could be refined in order to accommodate the finding that
workers in excluded ghettos do not necessarily rely solely on local social
networks to find out about job vacancies. Instead, workers with employment
experience have strong workplace-based social networks. Since employers
recruit workers by relying on referrals from trusted workers, these workplace-based social networks can put job seekers at the front of the hiring queue,
regardless of where they live.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498–519
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Critical Realism
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • causation
  • deductive-nomological model of causation
  • causal-explanatory model of causation
  • retroduction
  • Cape Town
  • positivism
  • critical realism
  • SPATIAL MISMATCH

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