Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Surviving Unemployment without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa

Contents:

Author Info

  • Stephan Klasen
  • Ingrid Woolard

Abstract

High unemployment in many OECD countries is often attributed, at least in part, to the generosity and long duration of unemployment compensation. It is therefore instructive to examine a country where high unemployment exists despite the near complete absence of an unemployment insurance system. In South Africa unemployment stood at 23% in 1997 and the unemployed have no unemployment insurance nor informal sector activities to fall back on. This paper examines how the unemployed are able to getaccess to resources without support from unemployment compensation. Analysing a household survey from 1995, we find that the household formation response of the unemployed is the critical way in which they assure access to resources. In particular, unemployment delays the setting up of an individual household of young people, in some cases by decades. It also leads to the dissolution of existing households and a return ofconstituent members to parents and other relatives and friends. Access to state transfers (in particular, non- contributory old age pensions) increases the likelihood of attracting unemployed persons to a household. Some unemployed do not benefit from this safety net, and the presence of unemployed members pulls many households supporting them into poverty. We also show that the household formation responses draw some unemployed away from employment opportunities and thus lowers their employment prospects. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for debates about unemployment and social policy in South Africa and in OECD countries.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2001/wp-cesifo-2001-08/cesifo_wp533.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 533.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_533

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Email:
Web page: http://www.cesifo.de
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: unemployment; household formation; South Africa; incentiveeffects;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Klasen, Stephan, 2000. "Measuring Poverty and Deprivation in South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 33-58, March.
  2. Woolard, Ingrid & Klasen, Stephan, 2004. "Determinants of Income Mobility and Household Poverty Dynamics in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 1030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
  4. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Toni Richards & Michael White & Amy Tsui, 1987. "Changing living arrangements: A hazard model of transitions among household types," Demography, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 77-97, February.
  6. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  7. Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Extended benefit entitlement periods and the duration of unemployment in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-14, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Douglas Miller & Sendhil Mullainathan, 1999. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from South Africa," Working Papers 801, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Bentolila, S. & Ichino, A., 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: are Job Losses Less Painful Near the Mediterranean?," Papers 0010, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
  10. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  11. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. David T. Ellwood & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Poverty in America: Is Welfare the Answer or the Problem?," NBER Working Papers 1711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment insurance and job search decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
  14. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Douglas Miller, 2003. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from Pensions in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 27-50, June.
  15. Arulampalam, Wiji & Stewart, Mark B, 1995. "The Determinants of Individual Unemployment Durations in an Era of High Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 321-32, March.
  16. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  17. Bardhan, Pranab K, 1979. "Wages and Unemployment in a Poor Agrarian Economy: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 479-500, June.
  18. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 1986. "Household formation, housing prices, and public policy impacts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-164, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_533. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.