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Department ofEconomics

Papers

Youth Labor Market Vulnerabilities: Evidence from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia

Shireen AlAzzawi and Vladimir Hlasny

International Journal of Manpower

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Abstract
Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the prevalence and drivers of employment vulnerability among youth in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, and their propensity to transition to better jobs over time.
Design/methodology/approach

The analysis is based on longitudinal data from Labor Market Panel Surveys spanning 6–20 years. The authors use transition matrices to examine the prevalence of transitions between labor market statuses for the same individuals over time, distinguishing between youth and non-youth, and men and women, as well as multinomial logistic regressions that control for individual and family background, including previous labor market status, family wealth and parental education.
Findings

The paper finds that youth in all three countries were disadvantaged in terms of labor market outcomes with most young men in particular ending up in vulnerable jobs while women of all ages were most likely to exit the labor market all together, unless they had formal jobs. Moreover, youth who started out in the labor market in a vulnerable job were unlikely to move to a better-quality job over time. Family wealth, parental education and father's occupation were found to be important determinants of labor market outcomes and vulnerability, even after a long period of work experience.
Social implications

The paper finds that wealth effects, parental education and occupation effects follow workers throughout their careers, implying low equality of opportunity and inter-generational and lifetime mobility.
Originality/value

The findings indicate worsening labor market outcomes over time, heavily influenced by family background. High levels of vulnerable employment persistence, regardless of skill and experience, reinforce the importance of initial labor market outcome on the quality of lifetime employment prospects.

LSB Research, ECON, 2022, Shireen Al-Azzawi