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Labor productivity and employment gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Mccullough,Ellen Bess
  • Mccullough,Ellen Bess

Abstract

Drawing on a new set of nationally representative, internationally comparable household surveys, this paper provides an overview of key features of structural transformation?labor allocation and labor productivity?in four African economies. New, micro-based measures of sector labor allocation and cross-sector productivity differentials describe the incentives households face when allocating their labor. These measures are similar to national accounts-based measures that are typically used to characterize structural changes in African economies. However, because agricultural workers supply far fewer hours of labor per year than do workers in other sectors, productivity gaps disappear almost entirely when expressed on a per-hour basis. What look like large productivity gaps in national accounts data could really be employment gaps, calling into question the prospective gains that laborers can achieve through structural transformation. These employment gaps, along with the strong linkages observed between rural non-farm activities and primary agricultural production, highlight agriculture's continued relevance to structural change in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Mccullough,Ellen Bess & Mccullough,Ellen Bess, 2015. "Labor productivity and employment gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7234, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7234
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food Security; Labor Markets; Textiles; Apparel&Leather Industry; Pulp&Paper Industry; Plastics&Rubber Industry; Food&Beverage Industry; Common Carriers Industry; Construction Industry; Business Cycles and Stabilization Policies; General Manufacturing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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