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Labor productivity and employment gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa

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ABSTRACT

Drawing on a new set of nationally representative, internationally comparable household surveys, this paper provides an overview of key features of structural transformation – labor allocation and labor productivity – in four African economies. New, micro-based measures of sector labor allocation and cross-sector productivity differentials describe the incentives households face when allocating their labor. These measures are similar to national accounts-based measures that are typically used to characterize structural change. However, because agricultural workers supply far fewer hours of labor per year than do workers in other sectors in all of the countries analyzed, productivity gaps shrink by half, on average, when expressed on a per-hour basis. Underlying the productivity gaps that are prominently reflected in national accounts data are large employment gaps, which call into question the productivity gains that laborers can achieve through structural transformation. Furthermore, agriculture’s continued relevance to structural change in Sub-Saharan Africa is highlighted by the strong linkages observed between rural non-farm activities and primary agricultural production.

No MeSH data available.


Primary sector participation rates across age cohorts.
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f0050: Primary sector participation rates across age cohorts.

Mentions: Fig. 10 depicts the changing primary sector of workers across all major age cohorts. Youth (ages 15–24) have lower participation in economic activities than do young adults (ages 25–34). Economically active youth supply larger shares of labor to agriculture (compared to industry and services) than do economically active young adults. Despite these differences, labor shares are robust to the specification of the “adulthood” threshold at age 25 rather than age 15.10


Labor productivity and employment gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa
Primary sector participation rates across age cohorts.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384442&req=5

f0050: Primary sector participation rates across age cohorts.
Mentions: Fig. 10 depicts the changing primary sector of workers across all major age cohorts. Youth (ages 15–24) have lower participation in economic activities than do young adults (ages 25–34). Economically active youth supply larger shares of labor to agriculture (compared to industry and services) than do economically active young adults. Despite these differences, labor shares are robust to the specification of the “adulthood” threshold at age 25 rather than age 15.10

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Drawing on a new set of nationally representative, internationally comparable household surveys, this paper provides an overview of key features of structural transformation – labor allocation and labor productivity – in four African economies. New, micro-based measures of sector labor allocation and cross-sector productivity differentials describe the incentives households face when allocating their labor. These measures are similar to national accounts-based measures that are typically used to characterize structural change. However, because agricultural workers supply far fewer hours of labor per year than do workers in other sectors in all of the countries analyzed, productivity gaps shrink by half, on average, when expressed on a per-hour basis. Underlying the productivity gaps that are prominently reflected in national accounts data are large employment gaps, which call into question the productivity gains that laborers can achieve through structural transformation. Furthermore, agriculture’s continued relevance to structural change in Sub-Saharan Africa is highlighted by the strong linkages observed between rural non-farm activities and primary agricultural production.

No MeSH data available.