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Bumpy Rides: School to Work Transitions in South Africa

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  • Pugatch, Todd

    (Oregon State University)

Abstract

Re-enrollment in school following a period of dropout is a common feature of the South African school to work transition that has been largely ignored in both the literature on South Africa and the wider literature on sequential schooling choice. In this paper, I quantify the importance of the option to re-enroll in the school to work transition of South African youth. I estimate a structural model of schooling choice in South Africa using a panel dataset that contains the entire schooling and labor market histories of sampled youth. Estimates of the model's structural parameters confirm the hypothesis that enrollment choices reflect dynamic updating of the relative returns to schooling versus labor market participation. In a policy simulation under which re-enrollment prior to high school completion is completely restricted, the proportion completing at least 12 years of schooling rises 6 percentage points, as youth who would have dropped out under unrestricted re-enrollment reconsider the long-term consequences of doing so. The results suggest that the option to re-enroll is an important component of the incentives South African youth face when making schooling decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Pugatch, Todd, 2012. "Bumpy Rides: School to Work Transitions in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 6305, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6305
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    Cited by:

    1. Todd Pugatch, 2014. "Safety valve or sinkhole? Vocational schooling in South Africa," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, December.
    2. Björn Nilsson, 2019. "The School-to-Work Transition in Developing Countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(5), pages 745-764, May.
    3. Nicholas Trachter, 2015. "Stepping stone and option value in a model of postsecondary education," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), pages 223-256, March.
    4. Kevin M. Stange, 2012. "An Empirical Investigation of the Option Value of College Enrollment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 49-84, January.
    5. Susan Godlonton, 2020. "Employment Exposure: Employment and Wage Effects in Urban Malawi," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(2), pages 471-506.
    6. Tyler Ransom & Esteban Aucejo & Arnaud Maurel & Peter Arcidiacono, 2014. "College Attrition and the Dynamics of Information Revelation," 2014 Meeting Papers 529, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Levinsohn, James & Pugatch, Todd, 2014. "Prospective analysis of a wage subsidy for Cape Town youth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 169-183.
    8. Laurel Wheeler & Robert Garlick & Eric Johnson & Patrick Shaw & Marissa Gargano, 2022. "LinkedIn(to) Job Opportunities: Experimental Evidence from Job Readiness Training," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 101-125, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital investment; labor supply; youth unemployment; dynamic discrete choice; South Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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