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Inequality of opportunity on the urban labour market in West Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Laure Pasquier-Doumer


    (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

(english) As labour income is the first source of income in developing countries, inequalities in the labour markets contribute in a large part to global inequalities. This paper aims at understanding how the socio-economic background of a person determines his opportunities in the labour markets of West- African cities. It seeks to answer the following questions: to what extent one’s position in the labour market is determined by his father’s one and what explains differences between the West-African cities? Does the father’s position influence directly the occupational situation of his children through the transmission of informational, social or physical capital gained in the course of his career? Or does it play an indirect role through determining the educational level of his children that will in turn be responsible for their position in the labour markets? Depending on whether the link between father’s and children’s occupation is direct or indirect, political implications are very different. In the first case, reducing inequality of opportunities means improving labour markets efficiency and in the second case, it means improving educational policy. _________________________________ (français) Comprendre les inégalités sur le marché du travail dans les pays en développement constitue un enjeu important dans la mesure où les revenus du travail y sont la principale source de revenu pour la majorité des ménages. Cette étude vise à identifier dans quelle mesure l’origine sociale des travailleurs détermine leur opportunités sur le marché du travail. Elle compare le degré d’inégalité des chances sur le marché du travail dans sept capitales économiques ouest africaines, définie comme l’association nette entre la position sur le marché du travail des individus et celle de leur père. Cette comparaison permet d’identifier les caractéristiques des pays présentant les degrés les plus élevés et d’apporter des éléments pour évaluer les différentes thèses expliquant les différences entre les pays en termes d’inégalités des chances. Elle estime ensuite pour chacune des villes si la situation professionnelle du père agit directement sur le positionnement sur le marché du travail ou si son effet est indirect, à travers l’éducation. Les implications en termes de politiques publiques sont très différentes selon les deux cas. Dans le premier cas, les politiques visant à égaliser les chances doivent agir directement sur le marché du travail, dans le second cas, elles doivent agir en amont, sur le système éducatif.

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Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2010/09.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2010
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201009
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