IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

A firm level analysis of trade, technology and employment in South Africa

  • Lawrence Edwards

    (School of Economics, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, South Africa)

This paper uses two firm level surveys, the National Enterprise (NE) survey and the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area (GJMA) survey, to explore the implications of globalization for employment in South Africa. These relationships are explored using cross-tabulations and estimated labour demand functions. The paper finds that rising import penetration negatively affected employment in large firms, but not small firms. Relatively large declines in employment also occurred within export firms, despite improvements in export competitiveness and export growth through trade liberalization. Finally, the study finds that skill-biased and trade-induced technological change, as reflected in increased use of computers, foreign investment and the importation of raw material inputs, have raised the skill intensity of production. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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:
File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 16 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 45-61

in new window

Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:16:y:2004:i:1:p:45-61
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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. Edwards, Lawrence & Golub, Stephen S., 2004. "South Africa's International Cost Competitiveness and Exports in Manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1323-1339, August.
  2. Greenaway, David & Hine, Robert C. & Wright, Peter, 1999. "An empirical assessment of the impact of trade on employment in the United Kingdom," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 485-500, September.
  3. Berman, E. & Bound, J. & Machin, S., 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," Papers 25, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  4. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and changes in skill structure: evidence from seven OECD countries," IFS Working Papers W98/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Aguirregabiria, Victor & Alonso-Borrego, Cesar, 2001. "Occupational structure, technological innovation, and reorganization of production," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 43-73, January.
  6. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1997. "Learning by Trading and the Returns to Human Capital in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 17-32, January.
  7. Arvind Subramanian & Gunnar Jonsson, 2000. "Dynamic Gains From Trade: Evidence From South Africa," IMF Working Papers 00/45, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Barry, F & Bradley, J, 1997. ""FDI and Trade : The Irish Host-Country Experience"," Papers 97/13, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  9. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
  10. Milner, Chris & Wright, Peter, 1998. "Modelling Labour Market Adjustment to Trade Liberalisation in an Industrialising Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 509-28, March.
  11. Currie, Janet & Harrison, Ann E, 1997. "Sharing the Costs: The Impact of Trade Reform on Capital and Labor in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S44-71, July.
  12. Hanson, G.H. & Harrison, A., 1995. "Trade, Technology and Wage Inequality," Papers 95-20, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  13. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:2:p:367-97 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Department of Economics 95-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  15. L Edwards, 2001. "Globalisation And The Skills Bias Of Occupational Employment In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 69(1), pages 40-71, 03.
  16. Harrison, Ann & Hanson, Gordon, 1999. "Who gains from trade reform? Some remaining puzzles," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 125-154, June.
  17. H. Bhorat & J. Hodge, 1999. "Decomposing Shifts in Labour Demand in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 67(3), pages 155-168, 09.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:16:y:2004:i:1:p:45-61. 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: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.