American University
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2011-02 Labor force participation, gender and work in South Africa

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posted on 2023-08-05, 12:04 authored by Maria Floro, Hitomi Komatsu

The utilization of time use data for exploring employment issues has received little attention in economic analysis. Using data from the 2000 South African national time use survey we argue that a gender-aware understanding of how men and women organize their daily life can help identify labor market and subsistence work that are missed in labor force surveys, thus complementing the information they provide.Further, information on the time spent in job-related search and household work provide insights on the interconnectedness of gender inequalities in the labor market and within the household.Our analysis of the time use patterns of 10, 465 working age women and men, shows that a non-trivial proportion of men and women classified as either ‟not in the labor force‟ or „unemployed‟ actually engaged in subsistence, temporary and casual forms of employment. Secondly, we find that regardless of their labor force status, women‟s and men‟s hours of unpaid work donot vary greatly. These affect not only employment options of women but also their ability to look for work. Thirdly, time use data helps identify the salient characteristics of these individuals and the type of occupations they are engaged.



Department of Economics, American University


Department of Economics, Working Paper Series, no. 2011-02. 37 pages.


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