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date: 21 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines whether social ties play a significant role in job seeking by poor people. A number of studies provide evidence that in relative and absolute terms, the poor rely heavily on social networks for job-finding. Without networks, poor job seekers are significantly less likely to find work. After considering what kinds of ties help the poor get ahead, this article discusses the role of weak ties as a source of job information and influence. It then explores the link between employment outcomes and network structure and composition as well as how people make leveraging ties, and how might this process of tie formation inform our understanding of network inequality. It also asks why leveraging ties are effective and concludes with an assessment of conditions that facilitate social capital activation.

Keywords: social ties, job seeking, social networks, poor job seekers, weak ties, employment, network structure, leveraging ties, network inequality, social capital

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