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Transitions and Occupational Changes in a West African Urban Labour Market: The Role of Social Network

  • Pasquier-Doumer, Laure
  • Nordman, Christophe Jalil

This paper sheds light on the role of social networks in the dynamics of workers in an urban labour market of a West African country. We examine the extent to which one's network is essential in labour market transitions, in particular from unemployment to employment, from wage employment to self-employment, or from self-employment to wage employment. In addition, this paper investigates which dimension of the social network has the main eff ect on these transitions, by distinguishing quantity and quality of the network. For this purpose, we use a first-h and survey conducted in 2009 in Ouagadougou on a representative sample of 2000 households. This survey provides event history data and very detailed information on social networks. To estimate labour market transitions a nd job changes, we rely on survival analysis that makes use of proportional hazard models for discrete-time data. We find that social networks have a significant effect on the dynamics of individuals in the labour market and that this e ffect differs depending on the type of transition considered. In particular, the “quality” of the social network seems to limit transitions from one type of occupation to another, and to encourage workers to evolve within the same type of occupation. By contrast, the size of the social network (“quantity”) may promote wider occupational changes, in particular the transition from self-employment to w age employment, which often goes hand in hand with migration to the capital city. These results suggest that the size of the social network conveys information but is not sufficient to improve the occupational status of workers. Considering both quantitative and qualitative dimension of the social network is therefore crucial in assessing the effect of such network on labour market transitions.

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Paper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/11236.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:dau:papers:123456789/11236
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  1. Mohamed Jellal & Christophe Nordman & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2008. "Evidence on the glass ceiling effect in France using matched worker-firm data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(24), pages 3233-3250.
  2. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects, and Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1056-1093, December.
  3. Bocquier, Philippe & Nordman, Christophe J. & Vescovo, Aude, 2010. "Employment Vulnerability and Earnings in Urban West Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1297-1314, September.
  4. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "Rising Occupational And Industry Mobility In The United States: 1968-97," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 41-79, 02.
  5. Fernández, Rosa M. & Nordman, Christophe J., 2009. "Are there pecuniary compensations for working conditions?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 194-207, April.
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