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Migration and Unemployment in South Africa: When Motivation Surpasses the Theory

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  • Katy Cornwell

    ()

  • Brett Inder

    ()

Abstract

This paper looks at the connection between internal migration and unemployment in South Africa. We examine whether rural-urban migrants are more likely to be unemployed, in informal sector employment or underemployed than non-migrants. We build on standard economic theory to predict that rates of unemployment and of participation in the informal sector ought to be much higher for migrants than for non-migrants. The empirical evidence we present, based on the 1993 and 1994 October Household Surveys, provides only some support for this theory. Results suggest that compared to job seeking non-migrants, recent migrants do well at finding formal employment, and are much less likely to be unemployed.

Suggested Citation

  • Katy Cornwell & Brett Inder, 2004. "Migration and Unemployment in South Africa: When Motivation Surpasses the Theory," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 2/04, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:msh:ebswps:2004-2
    as

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    File URL: http://www.buseco.monash.edu.au/ebs/pubs/wpapers/2004/wp2-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. H. Bhorat, 1999. "The October Household Survey, Unemployment and the Informal Sector: A Note," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 67(2), pages 143-146, June.
    2. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2004. "Unemployment in South Africa: The Nature of the Beast," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 391-408, March.
    3. Sarbajit Chaudhuri, 2000. "Rural–Urban Migration, the Informal Sector, Urban Unemployment, and Development Policies: A Theoretical Analysis," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 353-364, October.
    4. P. Garegnani, 1970. "A Reply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 439-439.
    5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1974. "Alternative Theories of Wage Determination and Unemployment in LDC's: The Labor Turnover Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(2), pages 194-227.
    6. Steel, William F & Takagi, Yasuoki, 1983. "Small Enterprise Development and the Employment-Output Trade-Off," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(3), pages 423-446, November.
    7. Kaushik Basu, 2003. "Analytical Development Economics: The Less Developed Economy Revisited," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262523442, January.
    8. Todaro, Michael P, 1986. "Internal Migration and Urban Employment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 566-569, June.
    9. Cole, William E & Sanders, Richard D, 1985. "Internal Migration and Urban Employment in the Third World," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 481-494, June.
    10. Hoddinott, John, 1996. "Wages and Unemployment in an Urban African Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1610-1626, November.
    11. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
    12. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1976. "The Rural-Urban Wage Gap, Migration, and the Shadow Wage," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 406-425, November.
    13. J. B. Knight, 1982. "The Nature of Unemployment in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 50(1), pages 1-7, March.
    14. J. Gerson, 1981. "The Question of Structural Unemployment in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 49(1), pages 7-15, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dinkelman, Taryn & Schulhofer-Wohl, Sam, 2015. "Migration, congestion externalities, and the evaluation of spatial investments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 189-202.
    2. repec:wsi:jdexxx:v:16:y:2011:i:01:n:s1084946711001719 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; South Africa; Unemployment; Informal Sector; Rural-Urban Migration; Labour Turnover;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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