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Why Has Unemployment Risen in the New South Africa?

Author

Listed:
  • Sebastian Galliani
  • James Levinsohn
  • Ingrid Woolard

Abstract

We document the rise in unemployment in South Africa since the transition in 1994. We describe the likely causes of this increase and analyze whether the increase in employment is due to structural changes in the economy (resulting in a new equilibrium unemployment rate) or to negative shocks (that temporarily have increased unemployment). We conclude the former are more important. Our analysis includes a multinomial logit approach to understanding transitions in individual-level changes in labor market status using the first nationally representative panel in South Africa. Our analysis highlights several key constraints to addressing unemployment in South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Galliani & James Levinsohn & Ingrid Woolard, 2006. "Why Has Unemployment Risen in the New South Africa?," CID Working Papers 134, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:134
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    File URL: https://www.hks.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/centers/cid/files/publications/faculty-working-papers/134.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. T. Paul Schultz & Germano Mwabu, 1998. "Labor Unions and the Distribution of Wages and Employment in South Africa," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, pages 680-703.
    2. 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.
    3. H. Bhorat, 1999. "The October Household Survey, Unemployment and the Informal Sector: A Note," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 67(2), pages 143-146, June.
    4. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    5. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    6. Rulof Burger & Derek Yu, 2006. "Wage trends in post-apartheid South Africa: Constructing an earnings series from household survey data," Working Papers 10/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    7. Kristin F. Butcher & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2001. "Wage Effects of Unions and Industrial Councils in South Africa," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 349-374, January.
    8. P. G. Moll, 1993. "Black South African Unions: Relative Wage Effects in International Perspective," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(2), pages 245-261, January.
    9. Dolado, J J & Malo de Molina, J L & Zabalza, A, 1986. "Spanish Industrial Unemployment: Some Explanatory Factors," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages 313-334, Supplemen.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Wittenberg, 2007. "Dissecting post-apartheid labour market developments: Decomposing a discrete choice model while dealing with unobservables," Working Papers 46, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    2. 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.
    3. Ricardo Hausmann & Bailey Klinger & Rodrigo Wagner, 2008. "Doing Growth Diagnostics in Practice: A 'Mindbook'," CID Working Papers 177, Center for International Development at Harvard University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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