Annual Forum Papers

Have Labour Market Outcomes Affected Household Structure in South Africa? A Preliminary Descriptive Analysis of Households

  • Year: 2004
  • Author(s): Farah Pirouz
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

Recent studies using South African household survey data have questioned the exogeneity of household size and composition from income flows and labour market outcomes. (Maitra and Ray, 2001, and Klasen and Woolard, 2000). Research on unemployment in South Africa has occasionally viewed the household as either an important source of labour market information, as providing incentives or disincentives to participate, and its composition at a point in time as outcome of members' labour market possibilities. It has been proposed that household structure and a household's location in South Africa has a major impact on an individual's decision to participate in the labour market and their success in looking for work. In the absence of long-term unemployment insurance in South Africa, jobless people have been found to live in households where they can share in wage income or other income, i.e. make use of a private safety net (Klasen and Woolard, 2000). The relatively large state old age pension may further have led to larger pensioner-headed households and larger households when a pensioner is present (Case and Deaton, 1998; Edmonds, Mammen and Miller, 2002). The above-mentioned studies employ household survey data collected in 1993 and 1998, and the Census 1996 but neither use more recent datasets nor compare trends across them.