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Understanding the Drivers of the Youth Labour Market in Kenia

In: Disadvantaged Workers


  • Veronica Escudero

    (International Labour Office)

  • Elva Lopez Mourelo

    (International Labour Office)


This article identifies the macro and microeconomic determinants of youth unemployment and inactivity rates. It finds that although the size of the youth cohort does have significant implications for the status of youth in the labour market, aggregate labour market conditions have a greater influence. The article also finds a large gap between the youth and the overall employment elasticities in the country. This implies that fostering economic growth and ensuring economic sustainability, important as these factors are, will not be sufficient to address youth challenges. Efforts will need to be focused on improving the youth employment content of growth. In this regard, results from the microeconometric analysis find that boosting tertiary school attendance and providing targeted vocational training to young people (particularly women) would be the most effective measures for improving youth employability in the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Veronica Escudero & Elva Lopez Mourelo, 2014. "Understanding the Drivers of the Youth Labour Market in Kenia," AIEL Series in Labour Economics,in: Dario Sciulli & Miguel Ángel Malo (ed.), Disadvantaged Workers, edition 1, chapter 10, pages 203-228 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
  • Handle: RePEc:ail:chapts:07-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Caliendo, Marco & Künn, Steffen & Schmidl, Ricarda, 2011. "Fighting Youth Unemployment: The Effects of Active Labor Market Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 6222, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Niall O'Higgins, 2012. "This Time It's Different? Youth Labour Markets during ‘The Great Recession’," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 54(2), pages 395-412, June.
    3. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2007. "Labor market institutions and demographic employment patterns," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 833-867, October.
    4. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, January.
    5. David Neumark & William L. Wascher, 2008. "Minimum Wages," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262141027, January.
    6. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
    7. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "The Dynamics of Youth Unemployment," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 199-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. John C. Anyanwu, 2013. "Characteristics and Macroeconomic Determinants of Youth Employment in Africa," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 25(2), pages 107-129, June.
    9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Misbah Tanveer Choudhry & Enrico Marelli & Marcello Signorelli, 2012. "Youth unemployment rate and impact of financial crises," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 76-95, March.
    11. Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Francesco Pastore, 2007. "The Youth Experience Gap: Explaining Differences across EU Countries," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 41/2007, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
    12. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    13. Junfu Zhang & Zhong Zhao, 2015. "Social-family network and self-employment: evidence from temporary rural–urban migrants in China," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    14. Mauro, Luciano & Carmeci, Gaetano, 2003. "Long run growth and investment in education: Does unemployment matter?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 123-137, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bensch, Gunther & Kluve, Jochen & Stöterau, Jonathan, 2016. "The market-based dissemination of modern-energy products as a business model for rural entrepreneurs: Evidence from Kenya," Ruhr Economic Papers 635, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item


    Kenya; Youth inactivity; Youth unemployment;


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