IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp7450.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Unintended Consequences of Education Policies on South African Participation and Unemployment

Author

Listed:
  • Burger, Rulof

    (Stellenbosch University)

  • van der Berg, Servaas

    (Stellenbosch University)

  • von Fintel, Dieter

    (Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

In the late 1990s the South African Department of Education implemented two policies that were meant to reduce the large number of over-age learners in the school system: schools were no longer allowed to accept students who were more than two years older than the correct grade-age and students could not be held back more than once in each of four schooling phases. Our analysis uses school administrative data and household survey data to show that these policies coincided with a decrease in school enrolment of at least 400,000 and possibly more than 900,000 learners. These policies appear to have pushed many students into the labour market at earlier ages than was observed for previous generations, which explains much of the sudden increase in labour force participation and unemployment during this period. However, since these individuals would probably have entered the labour market sooner if not for their poor employment prospects, we argue that the resulting increase in unemployment signifies a more accurate reflection of disguised unemployment that already existed in the mid-1990s rather than a deterioration of labour market conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Burger, Rulof & van der Berg, Servaas & von Fintel, Dieter, 2013. "The Unintended Consequences of Education Policies on South African Participation and Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 7450, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7450
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp7450.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Sebastian Galiani & Jim Levinsohn & Zoë McLaren & Ingrid Woolard, 2008. "Why has unemployment risen in the New South Africa?1," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 715-740, October.
    2. Rulof Burger & Dieter von Fintel, 2009. "Determining the Causes of the Rising South African Unemployment Rate: An Age, Period and Generational Analysis," Working Papers 158, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    3. Haroon Bhorat, 2004. "Labour Market Challenges In The Post‐Apartheid South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 940-977, December.
    4. Martin Browning & Ian Crawford & Marike Knoef, 2012. "The age-period cohort problem: set identification and point identification," CeMMAP working papers CWP02/12, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Daniela Casale & Dorrit Posel, 2002. "The Continued Feminisation Of The Labour Force In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(1), pages 156-184, March.
    6. David J. McKenzie, 2006. "Disentangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects in the Additive Model," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(4), pages 473-495, August.
    7. Lam, David & Ardington, Cally & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2011. "Schooling as a lottery: Racial differences in school advancement in urban South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 121-136, July.
    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, September.
    9. Rulof Burger & Ingrid Woolard, 2005. "The State of the Labour Market in South Africa after the First Decade of Democracy," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 133, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    10. Nicola Branson & Martin Wittenberg, 2007. "The Measurement Of Employment Status In South Africa Using Cohort Analysis, 1994‐20041," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(2), pages 313-326, June.
    11. Derek Yu, 2007. "The comparability of the Statistics South Africa October Household Surveys and Labour Force Surveys," Working Papers 17/2007, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    12. Miracle Ntuli & Martin Wittenberg, 2013. "Determinants of Black Women's Labour Force Participation in Post-Apartheid South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 22(3), pages 347-374, June.
    13. Nicola Branson & Cally Ardington & David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt, 2013. "Changes in education, employment and earnings in South Africa – A cohort analysis," SALDRU Working Papers 105, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Dieter von Fintel, 2016. "Wage flexibility in a high unemployment regime: spatial heterogeneity and the size of local labour markets," Working Papers 09/2016, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    2. Dieter von Fintel, 2017. "Institutional wage-setting, labour demand and labour supply: Causal estimates from a South African pseudo-panel," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 1-16, January.
    3. Liz Neyens & Martin Wittenberg, 2016. "Changes in self-employment in the agricultural sector, South Africa: 1994-2012," SALDRU Working Papers 173, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Dieter von Fintel, 2017. "Institutional wage-setting, labour demand and labour supply: Causal estimates from a South African pseudo-panel," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 1-16, January.
    2. Erten, Bilge & Leight, Jessica & Tregenna, Fiona, 2019. "Trade liberalization and local labor market adjustment in South Africa," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 448-467.
    3. Rulof P Burger & Ronelle Burger & Laura Rossouw, 2012. "The fertility transition in South Africa: A retrospective panel data analysis," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(5), pages 738-755, December.
    4. Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Cost of Rigidity: The Case of the South African Labor Market," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 54(4), pages 809-842, December.
    5. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie, 2011. "The South African unemployment debate: three worlds, three discourses?," SALDRU Working Papers 63, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    6. Haroon Bhorat & Zaakhir Asmal & Kezia Lilenstein & Kirsten van der Zee, 2018. "SMMES in South Africa: Understanding the Constraints on Growth and Performance," Working Papers 201802, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    7. Miriam Altman, 2008. "Revisiting South African Employment Trends In The 1990s," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 76(s2), pages 126-147, August.
    8. Derek Yu, 2008. "The South African labour market: 1995 – 2006," Working Papers 05/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    9. Martin Wittenberg, 2007. "Dissecting post-apartheid labour market developments: Decomposing a discrete choice model while dealing with unobservables," Working Papers 46, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    10. 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.
    11. Nicola Branson & Julia Garlick & David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt, 2012. "Education and Inequality: The South African Case," SALDRU Working Papers 75, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    12. Nicola Viegi & Vincent Dadam, 2020. "Estimating a New Keynesian Wage Phillips Curve," Working Papers 11000, South African Reserve Bank.
    13. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid," NBER Working Papers 11384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Haroon Bhorat & Karmen Naidoo & Morné Oosthuizen & Kavisha Pillay, 2015. "Demographic, employment, and wage trends in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 141, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Fedderke, Johannes W. & Hill, Andrew J., 2011. "Industry structure and labor market flexibility in the South African manufacturing sector: A time series and panel data approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 1291-1302, May.
    16. Rulof Burger & Rachel Jafta & Dieter von Fintel, 2016. "Affirmative action policies and the evolution of post-apartheid South Africa's racial wage gap," WIDER Working Paper Series 066, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    17. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur, 2005. "Poverty and Well-being in Post-Apartheid South Africa: An Overview of Data, Outcomes and Policy," Working Papers 05101, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    18. Rulof Burger & Ingrid Woolard, 2005. "The State of the Labour Market in South Africa after the First Decade of Democracy," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 133, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    19. Kalie Pauw & Morne Oosthuizen & Carlene van der Westhuizen, 2006. "Graduate Unemployment in the Face of Skills Shortages: A Labour Market Paradox," Working Papers 06114, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    20. Anna McCord, 2004. "Public works: Policy expectations and programme realities," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 079, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa; education; unemployment; participation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7450. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Holger Hinte (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.