IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Unemployment in South Africa: The nature of the beast

  • Geeta G. Kingdon
  • John B. Knight

Unemployment in South Africa is so widespread that it demands an explanation. This paper examines two questions about South African unemployment. Firstly, why do the unemployed not enter the informal sector, as is common in other developing countries? Secondly, why do the unemployed not enter wage employment more readily? The findings provide little support for the idea that unemployed people choose to be unemployed: the unemployed are substantially worse off, and less satisfied with their quality of life, than they would be if informally employed. Various impediments to entry into the informal sector increase open unemployment. The test of the hypothesis that the unemployed have unrealistically high wage aspirations suggests that the commonly reported high reservation wages (relative to predicted wages) are not to be interpreted as reflecting unwillingness to work.

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: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/2001-15text.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2001-15.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2001-15
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Road, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Phone: +44-(0)1865 271084
Fax: +44-(0)1865 281447
Web page: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

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. Di Tella, R. & MacCulloch, R.J.: Oswald, A.J., 1997. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," Papers 19, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  2. P.A. Black & N. Rankin, 1998. "On the Cost - Increasing Effects of the New Labour Laws in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 66(4), pages 215-220, December.
  3. Metcalf, David & Nickell, Stephen J & Floros, Nicos, 1982. "Still Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 386-99, April.
  4. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2001. "Race and the Incidence of Unemployment in South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2001-18, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 1999. "Unemployment and wages in South Africa: a spatial approach," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1999-12, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2001. "Unemployment in South Africa: the nature of the beast," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2001-15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-42, March.
  9. Schaffner, Julie Anderson, 1998. "Generating conditional expectations from models with selectivity bias: comment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 255-261, March.
  10. Cross, Rodney, 1982. "How Much Voluntary Unemployment in Interwar Britain? [Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 380-85, April.
  11. J. Gerson, 1981. "The Question of Structural Unemployment in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 49(1), pages 7-15, 03.
  12. J. B. Knight, 1982. "The Nature of Unemployment in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 50(1), pages 1-7, 03.
  13. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345, March.
  14. Xaba, Jantjie & Horn, Pat & Motala, Shirin & Singh, Andrea, 2002. "Informal sector in Sub-Saharan Africa," ILO Working Papers 355190, International Labour Organization.
  15. Kaplinsky, Raphael, 1995. "Capital Intensity in South African Manufacturing and Unemployment, 1972-1990," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 179-192, February.
  16. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2000. "Are Searching and Non-searching Unemployment Distinct States when Unemployment is High? The Case of South Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-02, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Theodossiou, I., 1998. "The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological well-being: A logistic regression approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 85-104, January.
  18. Charles F. Manski, 1989. "Anatomy of the Selection Problem," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 343-360.
  19. N. F. R. Crafts, 1987. "Long-term unemployment in Britain in the 1930s," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 40(3), pages 418-432, 08.
  20. Osmani, S. R., 1990. "Wage determination in rural labour markets : The theory of implicit co-operation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 3-23, November.
  21. Nicoli Nattrass, 2002. "Unemployment, Employment and Labour-Force Participation in Khayelitsha/Mitchell's Plain," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 012, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  22. Vella, Frank, 1988. "Generating conditional expectations from models with selectivity bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 97-103.
  23. Collins, Michael, 1982. "Unemployment in Interwar Britain: Still Searching for an Explanation [Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain]," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 369-79, April.
  24. 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, 06.
  25. Maluccio, John A. & Haddad, Lawrence James & May, Julian, 1999. "Social capital and income generation in South Africa, 1993-98," FCND discussion papers 71, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  26. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  27. Maloney, William F, 1999. "Does Informality Imply Segmentation in Urban Labor Markets? Evidence from Sectoral Transitions in Mexico," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 275-302, May.
  28. Benjamin, Daniel K & Kochin, Levis A, 1979. "Searching for an Explanation of Unemployment in Interwar Britain," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 441-78, June.
  29. Moll, Peter, 1996. "Compulsory Centralization of Collective Bargaining in South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 326-29, May.
  30. Manski, C.F., 1990. "The Selection Problem," Working papers 90-12, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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:csa:wpaper:2001-15. 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: (Richard Payne)

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.