Product market competition and the labour market - Evidence from South Africa

Francesco Amodio, Michele Di Maio, Yifan Li, and Patrizio Piraino
March 2020

Abstract:

We study the relationship between product market competition and labour market outcomes in South Africa. We combine firm-level data from tax records with individual-level data from the labour force survey. We estimate markups across sectors, and derive a measure of employment concentration in high-markup sectors across South African district municipalities.We then test whether individual labour market outcomes differ systematically in those district municipalities where employment is more concentrated in high-markup sectors. We find that higher employment concentration in high-markup sectors is associated with higher unemployment and lower likelihood of transitions from unemployment to employment. This is differentially more the case for non-White, lower educated, and young individuals. The relationship remains strong when conditioning on a rich set of individual- and district-level covariates, including employment concentration per se.

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