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The impact of high levels of youth unemployment on transitions from school to work in South Africa: evidence from a panel study of youth in Cape Town

Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town
Cecil Mlatsheni, University of Cape Town

South Africa has a serious youth unemployment problem. Despite improvements in education levels of black youth in the ten years since democratic change, youth unemployment still carries a strong racial footprint. In such a milieu, understanding the factors driving school to work transitions is very important. This study utilises a new panel survey of youth in Cape Town to investigate, how youth perceptions of the labour market influence decisions to leave school and to participate in the labour market as well as the nature and extent of job search. Job search is costly in terms of the resources required for search and education time that is foregone. We explore these costs in terms of school performance. Some of these trade offs may be ameliorated through the use of networks to search for jobs. We explore the extent and efficacy of network searching among the youth.

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Presented in Session 132: Interplay between employment prospects and socio-demographic dynamics among young people in low-income countries