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Are searching and non-searching unemployment distinct states when unemployment is high? The case of South Africa

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  • Geeta G. Kingdon
  • John B. Knight

Abstract

Broadly and narrowly measured unemployment rates differ very markedly in certain countries, and the measure chosen to be the ‘official’ unemployment rate affects perceptions about the extent of the problem. The appropriate measure of the unemployment rate depends on whether jobless persons who say they want work but who are not actively searching should be regarded as part of the labour force. This paper examines whether the non-searching-unemployed state is distinct from the searching-unemployed state in a developing country - South Africa - where the broad unemployment rate and the gap between the broad and narrow rates are both very high. It asks whether lack of job-search among jobless persons claiming to want work is an outcome of tastes or of constraints. It finds evidence in support of adopting the broad definition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2000-02.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2000-02

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