Rising unemployment in South Africa : an intertemporal analysis using a Birth Cohort Panel

Von Fintel, Dieter (2007-03)

Thesis (MComm (Economics))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


A new political dispensation in 1994 heralded a period of optimism for many ordinary South Africans, who hoped for freedom and an escape from poverty. Since this transition, however, South Africa has registered steady increases in unemployment, which was already high and widespread at that stage. The new policy environment introduced a mix of legislation which changed the way in which South African society was to be structured: separate development was abandoned, the pillars of Apartheid dismantled, and equitable access to education and jobs was enacted. At the same time, the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), as well as the Growth Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) document addressed, amongst other issues, socioeconomic and labour market disparities. Economic growth was to bolster employment generation. Rising unemployment is, in light of these diverse changes, a source of considerable concern to labour market participants and policymakers alike: the benefits of better understanding the dynamic forces at play are potentially large. Given the many and farreaching changes referred to above, it is a complex task to disentangle specific reasons for the outcomes realised in the labour market, and more so the manner in which these have interacted to arrive at the status quo...

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