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Research Activities

Research Projects

FY 2014/2015 Research Topic: C-12
Unemployment and Participation in the Labor Force in Southern Africa


South Africa has a surprisingly high unemployment rate. Economic explanations of unemployment do not seem to satisfactorily explain the phenomenon. Explanations concerning the labor demand side include the strength of unions on hiring practices, yet this is refuted by the high unemployment rates in the informal sector. Labor supply side explanations include the discouragement effect of social benefits; however, research has shown that the impact of child benefits is small. The objective of this research project is to explore the decision to participate in the labor force and the mechanism behind unemployment in South Africa by the following:
1. Collect survey data that will form the basis for better understanding the South African unemployment puzzle.
2. Conduct interviews in order to gain an intuitive understanding of labor market institutions and people’s behavior as well as to derive hypotheses.
We will employ the most appropriate sampling strategy and summarize the labor market characteristics. If deemed appropriate, we will use experimental questions in order to associate with the labor supply decision making process.


April 2014 - March 2016

Members of the Research Project

[ Organizer ] ITO Seiro
[ Co-researcher ] Rulof Burger (Senior Lecturer, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)


  • 1st year: Interim Report
  • 2nd year: IDE Research Bulletin