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A Model of Comparative Advantage with Matching in the Urban Tanzanian Labour Market

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  • Andrew Kerr

Abstract

In this paper I build an equilibrium search model of the urban Tanzanian labour market that explains the choice between wage and self-employment and the variation in earnings across and within these sectors. Self-employment is very common in urban Tanzania and survey data show both that there are large overlaps in the distribution of earnings in private wage employment and self-employment and that there is little movement between wage and self-employment. This suggests that self-employment represents a worthwhile alternative to wage employment in small, low-productivity firms for the majority of urban Tanzanians, in contrast to the traditional view of African labour markets in which wage employment in small firms and self-employment are lumped together as the informal sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Kerr, 2012. "A Model of Comparative Advantage with Matching in the Urban Tanzanian Labour Market," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-21, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2012-21
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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/csae-wps-2012-21.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Albrecht & Lucas Navarro & Susan Vroman, 2009. "The Effects of Labour Market Policies in an Economy with an Informal Sector," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1105-1129, July.
    2. Eliane El Badaoui & Eric Strobl & Frank Walsh, 2008. "Is There an Informal Employment Wage Penalty? Evidence from South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 683-710.
    3. Ulyssea, Gabriel, 2010. "Regulation of entry, labor market institutions and the informal sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 87-99, January.
    4. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R, 2005. "Marriage, Bequest, and Assortative Matching in Rural Ethiopia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 347-380, January.
    5. Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Job search and mobility in developing countries. Theory and policy implications," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 336-355, June.
    6. Falco, Paolo & Kerr, Andrew & Rankin, Neil & Sandefur, Justin & Teal, Francis, 2011. "The returns to formality and informality in urban Africa," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages 23-31.
    7. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2009. "Labor Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 183-204, January.
    8. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    9. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
    10. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Can the Mortensen-Pissarides Model with Productivity Changes Explain U.S. Wage Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 70-105, January.
    11. Neil Rankin & Justin Sandefur & Francis Teal, 2010. "Learning & Earning in Africa: Where are the Returns to Education High?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2010-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Lain, 2016. "Discrimination in a Search-Match Model with Self-Employment," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

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