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Determinants of Unemployment in Ghana

William Baah-Boateng ()

African Development Review, 2013, vol. 25, issue 4, 385–399

Abstract: Unemployment is often cited as a measure of the low employment content of Ghana's strong growth performance over the past three decades. The paper presents evidence to suggest that employment growth in Ghana continues to trail economic growth due to high growth of low employment generating sectors against sluggish growth of high labour absorption sectors. A cross-sectional estimation of a probit regression model also indicates a strong effect of demand factors on unemployment, indicating a weak employment generating impact of economic growth. Empirical analysis also confirms higher vulnerability of youth and urban dwellers to unemployment with education and gender explaining unemployment in some instances. Reservation wage is also observed to have an increasing effect of unemployment. The paper recommends policies that promote investment in agriculture and manufacturing which is associated with higher employment elasticity of output. High incidence of unemployment among the youth and secondary school leavers in the most recent period requires targeted intervention including support for entrepreneurial training and start-up capital to attract young school leavers to become ‘creators’ rather than ‘seekers’ of jobs. A downward review of expectations on the part of jobseekers in terms of their reservation wage could help reduce unemployment in Ghana.

Date: 2013
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