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Socioeconomic Status and the Changing Nature of School-to-Work Transitions in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia


  • Ragui Assaad

    () (University of Minnesota)

  • Caroline Krafft
  • Colette Salemi


This paper examines the evolution of initial labor market outcomes across cohorts of school leavers by education and socioeconomic status in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. As educational attainment has risen, youth in the Middle East and North Africa have experienced increasingly protracted and difficult school to work transitions. The decline in the public sector and the slow growth of the private formal sector have resulted in a limited supply of good jobs. These jobs are increasingly allocated according to socioeconomic status in Egypt and Tunisia, but not in Jordan. In Egypt and Tunisia, we find that the quality of initial jobs deteriorated for educated new entrants, particularly among those with lower socioeconomic status. Protracted school-to-work transitions, with substantial delays in obtaining the first job, remain a challenge in Tunisia. However, in Egypt youth transition relatively quickly to their first job, often into informal jobs, while in Jordan, the “waithood” phenomenon has been declining due to increased opportunities in both the public and private sectors.

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  • Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft & Colette Salemi, 2019. "Socioeconomic Status and the Changing Nature of School-to-Work Transitions in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia," Working Papers 1287, Economic Research Forum, revised 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1287

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ragui Assaad & Christine Binzel & May Gadallah, 2010. "Transitions To Employment And Marriage Among Young Men In Egypt," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 39-88.
    2. Jackline Wahba & Ragui Assaad, 2017. "Flexible Labor Regulations and Informality in Egypt," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 962-984, November.
    3. Ibrahim Al Hawarin & Irène Selwaness, 2018. "The Evolution of Social Security in Jordan’s Labor Market: A Critical Comparison Between Pre- and Post- 2010 Social Security Reform," Working Papers 1185, Economic Research Forum, revised 26 Apr 2018.
    4. Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline & Selwaness, Irene, 2017. "The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa," GLO Discussion Paper Series 66, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft & Shaimaa Yassin, 2018. "Comparing retrospective and panel data collection methods to assess labor market dynamics," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 8(1), pages 1-34, December.
    6. Bilal Malaeb & Jackline Wahba, 2018. "Migration Dynamics during the Refugee Influx in Jordan," Working Papers 1190, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 May 2018.
    7. Saleh, Mohamed, 2016. "Public Mass Modern Education, Religion, and Human Capital in Twentieth-Century Egypt," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 697-735, September.
    8. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft, 2013. "The Egypt labor market panel survey: introducing the 2012 round," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-30, December.
    9. Irène Selwaness & Caroline Krafft, 2018. "The Dynamics of Family Formation and Women’s Work: What Facilitates and Hinders Female Employment in the Middle East and North Africa?," Working Papers 1192, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 May 2018.
    10. Shaimaa Yassin, 2014. "Job Accession, Separation and Mobility in the Egyptian Labor Market Over the Past Decade," Working Papers 881, Economic Research Forum, revised Nov 2014.
    11. Ragui Assaad & Samir Ghazouani & Caroline Krafft & Dominique J. Rolando, 2016. "Introducing the Tunisia Labor Market Panel Survey 2014," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-21, December.
    12. Assaad, Ragui, 1997. "The Effects of Public Sector Hiring and Compensation Policies on the Egyptian Labor Market," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 85-118, January.
    13. Rania Roushdy & Irène Selwaness, 2014. "Duration to Coverage: Dynamics of Access to Social Security in the Egyptian Labor Market in the 1998-2012 Period," Working Papers 836, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2014.
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