Micro-evidence on day labourers and the thickness of labour markets in South Africa

26 September 2012
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: J21, J24, J31, R23

The South African labour market is characterised by sharp segmentation, high unemployment and apparently limited informal sector employment. Recent work has focussed on the importance of the quality of education while others have argued that the rigidity of the labour market constrains employment growth. This paper considers the spatial aspects of the day labour market and argues that the size and proximity of economic activity found in agglomerations ensure a thick labour market that allows for better matching between workers and jobs. The results indicate that the day labourers, who were hired by the same employer more often, receive higher earnings and the thicker metropolitan labour market allows workers to become more specialised and receive higher earnings.

Series title: Working Paper 282
1 May 2012
Journal: South African Journal of Management Sciences
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