Surviving unemployment without state support: Unemployment and household formation in South Africa
While in many African countries, open unemployment is largely confined to urban areas and thus overall rates are quite low, in South Africa (and a few other Southern African countries), open unemployment rates hover around 30%, with rural unemployment rates being even higher than that. This occurs despite the near complete absence of an unemployment insurance system and little labour market regulation that applies to rural labour markets. This paper examines how unemployment can persist without support from unemployment compensation. Analysing household surveys from 1993, 1995, and 1998, we find that the household formation response of the unemployed is the critical way in which the unemployed assure access to resources. In particular, unemployment delays the setting up of an individual household by young persons, in some cases by decades. It also leads to the dissolution of existing households and a return of constituent members to parents and other relatives and friends. Access to state transfers (in particular, non-contributory old age pensions) increases the likelihood of attracting unemployed persons to a household. Some unemployed do not benefit from this safety net, and the presence of unemployed members pulls many households supporting them into poverty. We also show that the household formation response draw some of the unemployed away from employment opportunities, and thus lowers their employment prospects.
|Date of creation:||2005|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Private BagX3, Rondebosch, 7701, Cape Town|
Phone: +27 21 650 5696
Fax: +27 21 650 5697
Web page: http://www.saldru.uct.ac.za/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2000.
"Unemployment and Consumption: Are Job Losses Less Painful near the Mediterranean?,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
372, CESifo Group Munich.
- Bentolila, S. & Ichino, A., 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: are Job Losses Less Painful Near the Mediterranean?," Papers 0010, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
- Bentolila, Samuel & Ichino, Andrea, 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: Are Job Losses Less Painful near the Mediterranean?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2539, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Case, A. & Deaton, A., 1996.
"Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa,"
176, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
- Case, Anne & Deaton, Angus, 1998. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1330-61, September.
- Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
- Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search Decisions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(4), pages 505-517, July.
- Borsch-Supan, Axel, 1986. "Household formation, housing prices, and public policy impacts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-164, July.
- David T. Ellwood & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Poverty in America: Is Welfare the Answer or the Problem?," NBER Working Papers 1711, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bardhan, Pranab K, 1979. "Wages and Unemployment in a Poor Agrarian Economy: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 479-500, June.
- Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999.
"The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
- Klasen, Stephan, 2000. "Measuring Poverty and Deprivation in South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 33-58, March.
- Marianne Bertrand & Douglas Miller & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000.
"Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from South Africa,"
NBER Working Papers
7594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Douglas Miller, 2003. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from Pensions in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 27-50, June.
- Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Extended benefit entitlement periods and the duration of unemployment in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-14, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
- Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Toni Richards & Michael White & Amy Tsui, 1987. "Changing living arrangements: A hazard model of transitions among household types," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(1), pages 77-97, February.
- Arulampalam, Wiji & Stewart, Mark B, 1995. "The Determinants of Individual Unemployment Durations in an Era of High Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(429), pages 321-32, March.
- Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
- E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Woolard, Ingrid & Klasen, Stephan, 2004.
"Determinants of Income Mobility and Household Poverty Dynamics in South Africa,"
IZA Discussion Papers
1030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ingrid Woolard & Stephan Klasen, 2005. "Determinants of Income Mobility and Household Poverty Dynamics in South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 865-897.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ldr:cssrwp:129. 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: (Alison Siljeur)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.