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Boosting the Creation of Jobs in African Economies: What can Policy do?

In a recently published paper, Céline Zipfel, Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics, with Oriana Bandiera (LSE), Ahmed Elsayed (IZA), and Andrea Smurra (UCL), presents facts on labor markets in Africa and discusses policy priorities for boosting the creation of salaried jobs for young adults.

By analysing data on the employment dynamics of young adults in 68 low- and middle-income countries, Céline Zipfel and co-authors show that a clear pattern emerges: the process of development entails a shift in the organization of labor from self-employment to salaried jobs. However, while country-level data suggest that Africa is on the same development path as other regions, young African adults are less likely to have a salaried job, especially when their cohort is large.

The development process entails a transformation in the organization of labour: a myriad of micro-entrepreneurs turns into salaried workers hired by large firms.
Assistant Professor Céline Zipfel and co-authors

Drawing lessons from many evaluations and economic theories, Céline and co-authors thoroughly discuss policy priorities to address the lack of jobs available to young workers on the continent. For example, they explain how providing vocational training programs and subsidizing subsistence entrepreneurs could be ineffective in a context where demand for labor is low. Rather, policies focused on supporting firm growth and attracting foreign firms can help broaden the pool of salaried employment opportunities. Further, policies that facilitate workers' access to international markets, where salaried jobs are more easily available, could also be effective, especially now that certain services can be provided online without requiring physical migration

Big Brainstorm Event of 2022, Monday 14th Feb

Céline Zipfel has been invited by Pelle Enarsson, SSE '92 alumn and senior advisor at the UN Foundation, to present some of the paper’s key facts as part of a roundtable discussion at the Big Brainstorm Event of 2022, a platform dedicated to delivering transformative change for future generations.

Dept. of Economics Development Labor Economics Article Journal News Publication