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A Model of Comparative Advantage with Matching in the Urban Tanzanian Labour Market

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  • Andrew Kerr

Abstract

In this paper I build an equilibrium search model of the urban Tanzanian labour market that explains the choice between wage and self-employment and the variation in earnings across and within these sectors.� Self-employment is very common in urban Tanzania and survey data show both that there are large overlaps in the distribution of earnings in private wage employment and self-employment and that there is little movement between wage and self-employment.� This suggests that self-employment represents a worthwhile alternative to wage employment in small, low-productivity firms for the majority of urban Tanzanians, in contrast to the traditional view of African labour markets in which wage employment in small firms and self-employment are lumped together as the informal sector.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2012-21.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2012-21

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  1. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2009. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1105-1129, 07.
  2. Falco, Paolo & Kerr, Andrew & Rankin, Neil & Sandefur, Justin & Teal, Francis, 2011. "The returns to formality and informality in urban Africa," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages S23-S31.
  3. Eliane El Badaoui & Eric Strobl & Frank Walsh, 2008. "Is There an Informal Employment Wage Penalty? Evidence from South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 683-710.
  4. Neil Rankin & Justin Sandefur & Francis Teal, 2010. "Learning & Earning in Africa: Where are the Returns to Education High?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  5. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2009. "Labor Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 183-204, January.
  6. Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2010. "Regulation of entry, labor market institutions and the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 87-99, January.
  7. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Can the Mortensen-Pissarides Model with Productivity Changes Explain U.S. Wage Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 70-105, January.
  8. Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Job search and mobility in developing countries. Theory and policy implications," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-355, June.
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