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Race and the Oncidence of Unemployment in South Africa

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  • Geeta Kingdon
  • John Knight

Abstract

South Africa’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world, and it has important distributional implications. The paper examines the incidence of unemployment using two national household surveys for the mid-1990s. Both entry to unemployment and the duration of unemployment are examined. A probit model of the determinants of unemployment is estimated: it shows an important role for race, education, age, gender, home-ownership, location, and numerous other variables, all of which have plausible explanations. The large race gap in unemployment is explored further by means of a decomposition analysis akin to that normally used to analyse wage discrimination. There remains a substantial residual that cannot be explained by observed characteristics, and which might represent unobserved characteristics, such as quality of education, or discrimination. Implications for policy and for research are drawn.

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File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2001-18text.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2001-18.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2001
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2001-18

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Keywords: Unemployment; South Africa; Racial Discrimination;

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References

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  1. Blackaby, David, et al, 1999. "Unemployment among Britain's Ethnic Minorities," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
  2. Allanson, Paul & Atkins, Jonathan P & Hinks, Timothy, 2002. "No End to the Racial Wage Hierarchy in South Africa?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 442-59, October.
  3. Frijters, Paul, 1999. "Hiring on the Basis of Expected Productivity in a South African Clothing Firm," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 345-54, April.
  4. Sandrine Rospabé, 2001. "Making Racial Wage Relations Fair in South Africa: A Focus on the Role of Trade Unions," Working Papers 01048, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  5. Knight, J B & McGrath, M D, 1977. "An Analysis of Racial Wage Discrimination in South Africa," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 39(4), pages 245-71, November.
  6. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs And Educational Outcomes In South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084, August.
  7. Stephen Nickell, 1979. "A Picture of Male Unemployment in Britain," Working Papers 503, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. Gaute Erichsen & Jeremy Wakeford, 2001. "Racial Wage Discrimination in South Africa: Before and After the First Democratic Election," Working Papers 01049, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  9. Hughes, Gordon & McCormick, Barry & McCormick, Barry, 1987. "Housing markets, unemployment and labour market flexibility in the UK," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 615-641, April.
  10. Blackaby, D. H. & Leslie, D. G. & Murphy, P. D. & O'Leary, N. C., 1998. "The ethnic wage gap and employment differentials in the 1990s: Evidence for Britain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 97-103, January.
  11. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "Levels, trends and consistency of employment and unemployment figures in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 3-35.
  12. Blackaby, D. H. & Clark, K. & Leslie, D. G. & Murphy, P. D., 1994. "Black-white male earnings and employment prospects in the 1970s and 1980s evidence for Britain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 273-279, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2001. "Unemployment in South Africa: the nature of the beast," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2001-15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Kingdon, Geeta & Knight, John, 2006. "The measurement of unemployment when unemployment is high," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 291-315, June.
  3. Alexis Sienaert, 2008. "The Labour Supply Effects of the South African State Old Age Pension: Theory, Evidence and Implications," SALDRU Working Papers 20, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  4. Alice Fabre & Stéphane Pallage, 2013. "Child Labor, Idiosyncratic Shocks, and Social Policy," AMSE Working Papers 1358, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 05 Nov 2013.
  5. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2005. "Unemployment in South Africa, 1995-2003: Causes, Problems and Policies," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-010, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Cost of Rigidity: The Case of the South African Labor Market," Working Papers 290, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  7. O'Gorman, Melanie, 2010. "Racial earnings inequality in South Africa: An assessment of policy options," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 703-718, November.
  8. Timothy Hinks, 2012. "Fractionalization and well-being: Evidence from a new South African data set," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 253-271, December.
  9. Timothy Hinks, 2008. "Poverty, networks and location: the determinants of job-search in South Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 117-131.

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