Despite the immigrant character of Latino groups in the United States, little attention has been given to the role of social networks in the job-search process and in labor market outcomes for Latinos. The literature on social networks describes their use as important in providing access to jobs but neutral as to affecting earnings or attainment of prestige. This study uses data from a 1988-1989 Boston survey to examine the effect of finding employment through social networks on the income attainment of white, black, and Latino workers. Job seekers in all groups rely on such networks, but Latinos exhibit the highest rate of usage, which ranges across all occupations and industry sectors. While it has no effect on the level of earnings for whites or blacks, Latinos' network usage is associated with a negative effect on earnings. Controlling for other factors results in the decline of this negative effect; although small, it remains significant and negative. Improved data sources are needed to clarify the effect of networks on the labor-market position of Latinos.



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