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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
Title Fall back or spring forward?: Labor market transitions and the informal economy in South Africa
Volume 24
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 73 -87
In this paper I examine changes in the overall size of the informal economy and job transitions surrounding both formal and informal jobs within South Africa. Using retrospective data from a nationally representative survey conducted in 1991, I find that while the number of informal workers declined somewhat before 1970, it changed little before 1981, and experienced a small, but steady, rise afterwards. An examination of job changes across economies during the years 1951–1991 using event history analysis shows that while drops in formal employment and policies encouraging informal economy jobs for the under-employed are associated with a rise of informal economy employment, White men are most likely to use the informal economy as a temporary haven for work. Non-whites, women, and workers with lower levels of education and experience are less likely to be able to use the informal economy as a stepping stone to formal employment, and more likely to be unemployed.

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