A panel data analysis on the formal-informal sector linkages in South Africa
Nackerdien, Moegammad Faeez
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There are few studies on linkages between the formal and informal sectors in South Africa. This study explores the types of linkages between the informal and formal sectors with empirical research concentrating on labour churning (movements between the informal and formal sectors). Using National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS 2008-2014) data from four waves, individuals are classified into labour market statuses based on the Heintz & Posel (2008) methodology. This study conducts labour market transitional matrices and finds formal employment to provide the most stability in terms of employment. The main focus is on the following three groups of employed: working in the formal sector in all four waves; working in the informal sector in all four waves; moving between the formal and informal sectors across all four waves. For those always working in the formal sector, they are predominantly females and Africans. Those who always work in the formal sector are most educated, while those always working in the informal sector are associated with low educational attainment. The descriptive statistics are followed by econometric analysis: in terms of attaining employment, being male and a higher educational attainment significantly increase the probability of finding employment. In terms of sustaining work, the same two covariates significantly increase the probability of sustaining work. Being the head of household is also a key covariate in significantly increasing the probability in maintaining and sustaining employment. In terms of transitioning to formal employment, being male, an increase in education and living with a partner (married or unmarried) significantly increase the probability of moving to formal sector employment. In addition, multinomial logistic regressions are conducted, and the results indicate that being a male significantly increases the probability of working in the formal sector for all four waves. Africans are also significantly more likely to be employed informally for all four waves and an increase in the years of education significantly increases the probability of being formally employed for all four waves. The household-level variables reveal that being the head household significantly increases the probability of being employed (especially formally employed for all four waves) while having children has a negative impact on being employed for all four waves.