IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rza/wpaper/290.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Cost of Rigidity: The Case of the South African Labor Market

Author

Listed:
  • Johannes Fedderke

Abstract

The South African labor market has been characterized by high and persistent levels of unemployment, and a poor capacity to create jobs. This paper examines existing evidence on what rigidities have generated this outcome. Pricing power in output markets, as well as labor supply and demand side rigidities are all found to have contributed, resulting in excessive increases in real wage costs which under conditions of relatively low economic growth, has produced a stagnant labor market. Policy requirements are the pursuit of stonger economic growth and reductions in real labor costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Cost of Rigidity: The Case of the South African Labor Market," Working Papers 290, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:290
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econrsa.org/node/313
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kingdon, Geeta & Knight, John, 2006. "The measurement of unemployment when unemployment is high," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 291-315, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Race and the Incidence of Unemployment in South Africa," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 198-222, May.
    5. Victoria Hosegood & Anne Case & Cally Ardington, 2009. "Labor Supply Responses to Large Social Transfers: Longitudinal Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 22-48, January.
    6. Murray Leibbrandt & Haroon Bhorat, 1999. "Modelling Vulnerability and Low Earnings in the South African Labour Market," Working Papers 99032, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    7. 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.
    8. Dani Rodrik, 2008. "Understanding South Africa's economic puzzles," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 769-797, October.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Alan B. Krueger & David Card, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1397-1420, December.
    12. Marina Marinkov & Jean‐pierre Geldenhuys, 2007. "Cyclical Unemployment And Cyclical Output: An Estimation Of Okun'S Coefficient For South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(3), pages 373-390, September.
    13. Philippe Aghion & Matias Braun & Johannes Fedderke, 2008. "Competition and productivity growth in South Africa," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 741-768, October.
    14. Philippe Aghion & Johannes Fedderke & Peter Howitt & Chandana Kularatne & Nicola Viegi, 2008. "Testing Creative Destruction in an Opening Economy: the Case of the South African Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 93, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    15. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 2009. "Surviving Unemployment Without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(1), pages 1-51, January.
    16. Duncan Hodge, 2009. "Growth, Employment And Unemployment In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 77(4), pages 488-504, December.
    17. 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.
    18. William Wascher & David Neumark, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1362-1396, December.
    19. 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.
    20. Johannes Fedderke & Chandana Kularatne & Martine Mariotti, 2007. "Mark-up Pricing in South African Industry," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(1), pages 28-69, January.
    21. M Leibbrandt & H Bhorat & I Woolard, 2001. "Household Inequality And The Labor Market In South Africa," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(1), pages 73-86, January.
    22. Nicoli Nattrass & Richard Walker, 2005. "Unemployment And Reservation Wages In Working‐Class Cape Town," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(3), pages 498-509, September.
    23. Taryn Dinkelman & Farah Pirouz, 2002. "Individual, Household And Regional Determinants Of Labour Force Attachment In South Africa:," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(5), pages 865-891, June.
    24. Johannes Fedderke & Robert Klitgaard & Kamil Akramov, 2011. "Heterogeneity Happens: How Rights Matter in Economic Development," Working Papers 220, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    25. Paul L. Cichello & Gary S. Fields & Murray Leibbrandt, 2005. "Earnings and Employment Dynamics for Africans in Post-apartheid South Africa: A Panel Study of KwaZulu-Natal1," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(2), pages 143-190, June.
    26. Duncan Hodge, 2009. "Growth, Employment and Unemployment in South Africa," Working Papers 119, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    27. Paul Cichello & Gary Fields & Murray Leibbrandt, 2003. "Earnings and Employment Dynamics for Africans in Post-apartheid South Africa: A Panel Study of KwaZulu-Natal," Working Papers 03077, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    28. Martin Wittenberg, 2002. "Job Search In South Africa: A Nonparametric Analysis," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(8), pages 1163-1196, December.
    29. Taryn Dinkelman, 2004. "How Household Context Affects Search Outcomes Of The Unemployed In Kwazulu‐Natal, South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 484-521, September.
    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. Robert Hill & Kezia Lilenstein & Amy Thornton, 2020. "Job spells in an emerging market: Evidence from apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-27, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Romain Houssa & Jolan Mohimont & Chris Otrok, 2019. "A model for international spillovers to emerging markets," Working Paper Research 370, National Bank of Belgium.
    5. Serena Merrino, 2021. "Wage inequality under inflationtargeting in South Africa," Working Papers 11018, South African Reserve Bank.
    6. 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.

    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. 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.
    2. Nicola Viegi & Vincent Dadam, 2020. "Estimating a New Keynesian Wage Phillips Curve," Working Papers 11000, South African Reserve Bank.
    3. 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.
    4. Essers, Dennis, 2013. "South African labour market transitions during the global financial and economic crisis: Micro-level evidence from the NIDS panel and matched QLFS cross-sections," IOB Working Papers 2013.12, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    5. Dennis Essers, 2014. "South African Labour Market Transitions During the Global Financial and Economic Crisis: Micro-Level Evidence," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2014-115, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Delfin Go & Marna Kearney & Vijdan Korman & Sherman Robinson & Karen Thierfelder, 2010. "Wage Subsidy and Labour Market Flexibility in South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(9), pages 1481-1502.
    7. 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.
    8. Kwenda, Prudence & Benhura, Miracle & Mudiriza, Gibson, 2020. "Former Homeland Areas and Unemployment in South Africa: A Decomposition Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 12941, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Fabre, Alice & Pallage, Stéphane, 2015. "Child labor, idiosyncratic shocks, and social policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 394-411.
    12. Andrew Kerr & Martin Wittenberg & Jairo Arrow, 2014. "Job Creation and Destruction in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 82(1), pages 1-18, March.
    13. Fedderke, Johannes W., 2018. "Exploring unbalanced growth: Understanding the sectoral structure of the South African economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 177-189.
    14. d'Agostino, Giorgio & Scarlato, Margherita, 2016. "Gender Inequality in the South African Labour Market: the Impact of the Child Support Grant," MPRA Paper 72523, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Pa Black, 2004. "Poverty At The Household Level," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 413-436, September.
    16. Kingdon, Geeta & Knight, John, 2006. "The measurement of unemployment when unemployment is high," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 291-315, June.
    17. Margherita Scarlato & Giorgio D'Agostino, 2016. "Gender Disparities In The South African Labour Market: The Impact Of The Child Support Grant," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0210, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    18. Haroon Bhorat & Tara Caetano & Benjamin Jourdan & Ravi Kanbur & Christopher Rooney & Benjamin Stanwix & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa," Working Papers 201601, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    19. 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.
    20. Finn, Arden & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2013. "Mobility and Inequality in the First Three Waves of NIDS," SALDRU Working Papers 120, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    More about this item

    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:rza:wpaper:290. 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/ersacza.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: Dane Rossenrode (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ersacza.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.