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Transitions from school to work in urban South Africa: Evidence from the Cape Area Panel Study

David Lam, University of Michigan
Murray Leibbrandt, University of Cape Town
Cecil Mlatsheni, University of Cape Town

This paper uses new longitudinal data - the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS) - to analyze transitions from school to work in South Africa. The paper uses both retrospective annual calendar data collected in 2002 and monthly longitudinal data collected in 2003, 2004, and 2005, to analyze patterns of school enrolment and working and transitions into employment after leaving school. The results show large racial differences in school-work transitions, with white youth much more engaged than African youth in employment from the early teenage years. Using monthly reports on employment, we document a slow by steady process of finding jobs among white and coloured youth, with much poorer results for African youth. Using detailed schooling histories and a literacy and numeracy test administered in Wave 1, we estimate substantial returns to both schooling and test scores in finding employment after leaving school.

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Presented in Session 57: Adolescent transitions to adulthood