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Race and the Incidence of Unemployment in South Africa

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Author Info

  • Geeta Kingdon

    (Centre for the Study of African Economies)

  • John Knight

    (Department of Economics,Oxford University)

Abstract

South Africans 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://128.118.178.162/eps/lab/papers/0409/0409005.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0409005.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 08 Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0409005

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 35
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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Keywords: Unemployment; South Africa; racial discrimination;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Nickell, Stephen J, 1980. "A Picture of Male Unemployment in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 776-94, December.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Blackaby, David, et al, 1999. "Unemployment among Britain's Ethnic Minorities," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  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. Paul Frijters, 1998. "Hiring on the basis of expected productivity in a South African clothing firm," Discussion Papers Series 441, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kingdon, Geeta & Knight, John, 2006. "The measurement of unemployment when unemployment is high," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 291-315, June.
  2. Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Cost of Rigidity: The Case of the South African Labor Market," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(4), pages 809-842, December.
  3. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Unemployment in South Africa: the nature of the beast," Labor and Demography 0409003, EconWPA.
  4. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2007. "Unemployment in South Africa, 1995--2003: Causes, Problems and Policies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 813-848, November.
  5. Alice Fabre & Stéphane Pallage, 2011. "Child Labor, Idiosyncratic Shocks, and Social Policy," Cahiers de recherche 1115, CIRPEE.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Timothy Hinks, 2012. "Fractionalization and Well-Being: Evidence from a new South African data set," Working Papers 20121202, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.

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