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Race and the Incidence of Unemployment in South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Geeta Kingdon

    (Centre for the Study of African Economies)

  • John Knight

    (Department of Economics,Oxford University)

Abstract

South Africans unemployment rate is one of the highest in the world, and it has important distributional implications. The paper examines the incidence of unemployment using two national household surveys for the mid-1990s. Both entry to unemployment and the duration of unemployment are examined. A probit model of the determinants of unemployment is estimated: it shows an important role for race, education, age, gender, home-ownership, location, and numerous other variables, all of which have plausible explanations. The large race gap in unemployment is explored further by means of a decomposition analysis akin to that normally used to analyse wage discrimination. There remains a substantial residual that cannot be explained by observed characteristics, and which might represent unobserved characteristics, such as quality of education, or discrimination. Implications for policy and for research are drawn.

Suggested Citation

  • Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Race and the Incidence of Unemployment in South Africa," Labor and Demography 0409005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0409005
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Knight, J B & McGrath, M D, 1977. "An Analysis of Racial Wage Discrimination in South Africa," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 39(4), pages 245-271, November.
    2. Frijters, Paul, 1999. "Hiring on the Basis of Expected Productivity in a South African Clothing Firm," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 345-354, April.
    3. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs and Educational Outcomes in South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084.
    4. Gaute Erichsen & Jeremy Wakeford, 2001. "Racial Wage Discrimination in South Africa: Before and After the First Democratic Election," Working Papers 01049, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    5. Nickell, Stephen J, 1980. "A Picture of Male Unemployment in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 776-794, December.
    6. Sandrine Rospabé, 2001. "Making Racial Wage Relations Fair in South Africa: A Focus on the Role of Trade Unions," Working Papers 01048, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    7. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "Levels, trends and consistency of employment and unemployment figures in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 3-35.
    8. Blackaby, David, et al, 1999. "Unemployment among Britain's Ethnic Minorities," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
    9. Allanson, Paul & Atkins, Jonathan P & Hinks, Timothy, 2002. "No End to the Racial Wage Hierarchy in South Africa?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 442-459, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chijioke O. Nwosu, 2016. "The impact of health on the employment and earnings of young South Africans," Working Papers 601, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    2. Kingdon, Geeta & Knight, John, 2006. "The measurement of unemployment when unemployment is high," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 291-315, June.
    3. Timothy Hinks, 2008. "Poverty, networks and location: the determinants of job-search in South Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 117-131.
    4. Fabre, Alice & Pallage, Stéphane, 2015. "Child labor, idiosyncratic shocks, and social policy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 394-411.
    5. Timothy Hinks, 2012. "Fractionalization and well-being: Evidence from a new South African data set," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 253-271, December.
    6. Ali, Amjad & Zulfiqar, Kalsoom, 2018. "An Assessment of Association between Natural Resources Agglomeration and Unemployment in Pakistan," MPRA Paper 87968, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. 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.
    8. Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Cost of Rigidity: The Case of the South African Labor Market," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 54(4), pages 809-842, December.
    9. Abhijit Banerjee & Sebastian Galiani & Jim Levinsohn & Zoë McLaren & Ingrid Woolard, 2008. "Why has unemployment risen in the New South Africa?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 715-740, October.
    10. Sumberg, James & Anyidoho, Nana Akua & Chasukwa, Michael & Chinsinga, Blessings & Leavy, Jennifer, 2014. "Young people, agriculture, and employment in rural Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 080, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Eliane El Badaoui & Riccardo Magnani, 2015. "Tax Policies and Informality in South Africa," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-22, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    12. Rahul Anand & Siddharth Kothari & Naresh Kumar, 2016. "South Africa; Labor Market Dynamics and Inequality," IMF Working Papers 16/137, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Rulof Burger & Rachel Jafta & Dieter von Fintel, 2016. "Affirmative action policies and the evolution of post-apartheid South Africa's racial wage gap," WIDER Working Paper Series 066, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Alexis Sienaert, 2008. "The Labour Supply Effects of the South African State Old Age Pension: Theory, Evidence and Implications," SALDRU Working Papers 20, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    15. Deluna, Roperto & Berdos, Kleint, 2015. "Factors Affecting Length of Job Search and Job Switching in Davao City, Philippines," MPRA Paper 68802, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Vuyo Pikoko & Andrew Phiri, 2018. "Is there hysteresis in South African unemployment? Evidence form the post-recessionary period," Working Papers 1803, Department of Economics, Nelson Mandela University, revised Jan 2018.
    17. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2007. "Unemployment in South Africa, 1995--2003: Causes, Problems and Policies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 813-848, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment; South Africa; racial discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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