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Abstract:

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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper
Anonymity or Distance? Job Search and Labour Market Exclusion in a Growing African City
Girum Abebe, Stefano Caria, Marcel Fafchamps, Paolo Falco, Simon Franklin and Simon Quinn October 2017
Paper No' SERCDP0224:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: O18; J22; J24; J61; J64; M53

Do obstacles to job search contribute to labour market exclusion in developing countries? To answer this question, we contrast two very different interventions, designed to alleviate spatial and informational constraints for unemployed youth in a congested African city: a transport subsidy and a job-application workshop. Both treatments have large positive effects on the probability of finding stable and formal jobs. Neither treatment has a significant average effect on the overall probability of employment, but we detect a sizeable increase in earnings and employment rates among the most disadvantaged job-seekers. Our results highlight the importance of job-search constraints as mechanisms for exclusion of the most disadvantaged. They also show that, if targeted well, low-cost interventions can have large impacts, improving equity in the labour market.