Geography and Labor Market Performance

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Using data from 76 countries and a large number of controls, this paper analyses how geographical characteristics affect labor market performance. We find that different geographical characteristics have very different effects. While a larger share of highly fertile soil appears to lower employment and increase unemployment, more abundant mineral resources seem to increase employment without affecting unemployment. A larger share of tropical area is associated with higher employment and lower unemployment rates. Neither proximity to the ocean, or to ocean-navigable rivers, nor elevation appears to affect labor market outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-208
Number of pages19
JournalEastern Economic Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • unemployment
  • geography
  • employment
  • natural resources
  • climate

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