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Unemployment in South Africa: The Nature of the Beast

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  • Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi
  • Knight, John

Abstract

Unemployment in South Africa is so widespread that it demands an explanation. This paper examines two questions about South African unemployment. Firstly, why do the unemployed not enter the informal sector, as is common in other developing countries? Secondly, why do the unemployed not enter wage employment more readily? The findings provide little support for the idea that unemployed people choose to be unemployed: the unemployed are substantially worse off, and less satisfied with their quality of life, than they would be if informally employed. Various impediments to entry into the informal sector increase open unemployment. The test of the hypothesis that the unemployed have unrealistically high wage aspirations suggests that the commonly reported high reservation wages (relative to predicted wages) are not to be interpreted as reflecting unwillingness to work.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 32 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 391-408

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:32:y:2004:i:3:p:391-408

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References

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  1. Nicoli Nattrass, 2002. "Unemployment, Employment and Labour-Force Participation in Khayelitsha/Mitchell's Plain," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 012, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
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  8. Geeta G. Kingdon & John B. Knight, 1999. "Unemployment and wages in South Africa: A spatial approach," CSAE Working Paper Series 1999-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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  27. repec:fth:oxesaf:99-12 is not listed on IDEAS
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