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Micro-evidence on day labourers and the thickness of labour markets in South Africa

Author

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  • PF Blaauw
  • WF Krugell

Abstract

The South African labour market is characterised by sharp segmentation, high unemployment and apparently limited informal sector employment. Recent work has focussed on the importance of the quality of education while others have argued that the rigidity of the labour market constrains employment growth. This paper considers the spatial aspects of the day labour market and argues that the size and proximity of economic activity found in agglomerations ensure a thick labour market that allows for better matching between workers and jobs. The results indicate that the day labourers, who were hired by the same employer more often, receive higher earnings and the thicker metropolitan labour market allows workers to become more specialised and receive higher earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • PF Blaauw & WF Krugell, 2012. "Micro-evidence on day labourers and the thickness of labour markets in South Africa," Working Papers 282, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:282
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    File URL: http://www.econrsa.org/node/305
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
    2. Andre Hofmeyr, 2010. "Social Networks And Ethnic Niches: An Econometric Analysis Of The Manufacturing Sector In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 78(1), pages 107-130, March.
    3. S. Brakman & H Garretsen & M. Schramm, 2003. "The Strategic Bombing of German Cities during World War II and its Impact for Germany," Working Papers 03-08, Utrecht School of Economics.
    4. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1990. "Matching and agglomeration economies in a system of cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 189-212, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Jeremy R. Magruder, 2012. "High Unemployment Yet Few Small Firms: The Role of Centralized Bargaining in South Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 138-166, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Johan Fourie, 2016. "The long walk to economic freedom after apartheid, and the road ahead," Working Papers 11/2016, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Day labourers; Labour market; Agglomeration;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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