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Are searching and non-searching unemployment distinct states when unemployment is high? The case of South Africa

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  • Geeta G. Kingdon
  • John B. Knight

Abstract

Broadly and narrowly measured unemployment rates differ very markedly in certain countries, and the measure chosen to be the ‘official’ unemployment rate affects perceptions about the extent of the problem. The appropriate measure of the unemployment rate depends on whether jobless persons who say they want work but who are not actively searching should be regarded as part of the labour force. This paper examines whether the non-searching-unemployed state is distinct from the searching-unemployed state in a developing country - South Africa - where the broad unemployment rate and the gap between the broad and narrow rates are both very high. It asks whether lack of job-search among jobless persons claiming to want work is an outcome of tastes or of constraints. It finds evidence in support of adopting the broad definition.

Suggested Citation

  • Geeta G. Kingdon & John B. Knight, 2000. "Are searching and non-searching unemployment distinct states when unemployment is high? The case of South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2000-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2000. "Personal and Corporate Saving in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(3), pages 509-544, September.
    2. Kuchibhotla, Murali, 2013. "Three essays in development economics," ISU General Staff Papers 201301010800004461, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Taryn Dinkelman, 2004. "How Household Context Affects Search Outcomes Of The Unemployed In Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 484-521, September.
    4. Aysit Tansel & H. Mehmet Taşçı, 2010. "Hazard Analysis of Unemployment Duration by Gender in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(4), pages 501-530, December.
    5. Rulof Burger & Rachel Jafta, 2006. "Returns to Race: Labour Market Discrimination in Post-Apartheid South Africa," Working Papers 04/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2004. "Unemployment in South Africa: The Nature of the Beast," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 391-408, March.
    7. David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt & Cecil Mlatsheni, 2008. "Education and Youth Unemployment in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 22, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    8. Pieter Serneels, 2002. "Explaining Non-Negative Duration Dependence Among the Unemployed," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-13, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    9. Benhura, Miracle, 2007. "Determinants of South African Women’s Labour Force Participation, 1995–2004," IZA Discussion Papers 3119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Nicoli Nattrass & Richard Walker, 2005. "Unemployment And Reservation Wages In Working-Class Cape Town," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(3), pages 498-509, September.
    11. Sonja Keller, 2004. "Household Formation, Poverty And Unemployment - The Case Of Rural Households In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 437-483, September.
    12. Peder Pedersen & Torben Schmidt, 2011. "What is unemployment in Europe? Concepts and measurement in the European community household panel," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 705-728, May.
    13. Burns, Justine & Godlonton, Susan & Keswell, Malcolm, 2010. "Social networks, employment and worker discouragement: Evidence from South Africa," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 336-344, April.
    14. Pieter Serneels, 2004. "The Nature of Unemployment in Urban Ethiopia," Development and Comp Systems 0409042, EconWPA.
    15. Hendrik van Broekhuizen & Dieter von Fintel, 2010. "Who Responds to Voluntary Cognitive Tests in Household Surveys? The Role of Labour Market Status, Respondent Confidence, Motivation and a Culture of Learning in South Africa," Working Papers 27/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    16. Byrne, David & Strobl, Eric, 2004. "Defining unemployment in developing countries: evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 465-476, February.
    17. Richard Walker, 2003. "Reservation Wages-Measurement and Determinants: Evidence from the KMP Survey," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 038, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    18. Rulof Burger & Ingrid Woolard, 2005. "The State of the Labour Market in South Africa after the First Decade of Democracy," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 133, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    19. Matteo Richiardi, 2002. "What Does the ECHP Tell Us About Labour Status Misperception: a Journey in Less Known Regions of Labour Discomfort," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 10, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.

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