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The role of education and fertility in the participation and employment of African women in South Africa

  • Cecil Mlatsheni
  • Murray Leibbrandt

    ()

    (School of Economics, University of Cape Town)

Policy makers are well aware that creating jobs is an important priority if the health of our economy is to be preserved and improved. However, the first step towards a successful strategy of employment creation is an understanding of the labour market. Much attention has been devoted to analysing the unemployment/employment divide without sufficient attention being given to labour market participation itself. The aim of this paper is to add this dimension. Our focus is on African women, looking at the extent of the influence of education as well as fertility on their participation and employment. The first section takes a descriptive look at the relationship between education, fertility, and employment. We find that education is negatively related to fertility but positively related to employment. We also find that fertility and employment are negatively related. The next section tests these findings through estimating more formal models of participation and employment. Our conclusion is that education plays a significant role in the participation and employment of African women. However, fertility has an insignificant effect on participation of African women in the labour market. This is likely to be a result of the fact that African women are relatively poorer than the rest.

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File URL: http://www.dpru.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/36/DPRU%20WP01-054.pdf
File Function: First version, 2001
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Paper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 01054.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, September 2001, pages 1-25
Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:01054
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  1. Lam, D. & Schoeni, R.F., 1995. "Family Ties and Labor Markets in the United States and Brazil," Papers 95-04, RAND - Reprint Series.
  2. 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.
  3. Murray Leibbrandt & Haroon Bhorat, 1999. "Modelling Vulnerability and Low Earnings in the South African Labour Market," Working Papers 99032, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  4. Lam. D. & Schoeni, R.F., 1996. "Effects on Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Papers 96-13, RAND - Reprint Series.
  5. Thomas Mroz, . "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  6. Dilnot, Andrew & Duncan, Alan, 1992. "Thinking about labour supply," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 687-713, December.
  7. Maglad, N.A., 1998. "Female Labour Supply in Sudan," Papers 30s, African Economic Research Consortium.
  8. H. Bhorat & J. Hodge, 1999. "Decomposing Shifts in Labour Demand in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 67(3), pages 155-168, 09.
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