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Unbearable Costs: When Is Inflation Impeding Job Creation? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Ibrahima Camara, Rasmané Ouedraogo and Amadou Sy

No 2023/046, IMF Working Papers from International Monetary Fund

Abstract: Covid-19 and war-induced commodity price fluctuations, and broadening price pressures have led to a surge in inflation in many sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries. To adjust to increasing costs, firms have resorted to several measures including shuttering offices, reducing businesses, laying off, and freezing hiring, thus putting at risk job creation and raising concerns of youth unemployment. This paper explores the effects of inflation on private employment growth in SSA using a large firm -level dataset from the World Bank’s Enterprise Surveys. We find a non-linear relationship between inflation and job creation in SSA, with job creation being negatively correlated with inflation rate when the latter is above 14 percent. This finding holds regardless of the sector of activities of firms and the exchange rate regime. In addition, the paper finds some differential effects based on the type of products. An increase in fuel prices tends to be more detrimental to job creation than food prices. The study also provides evidence that the state of implementation of structural reforms matters. The results show that inflation reduces job opportunities mostly in countries with bad or no structural reforms.

Keywords: Inflation; Jobs; reforms; sub-Saharan Africa; broadening price pressure; evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa; Survey dataset; firm assessment; rising prices; Job creation; Exchange rate arrangements; Employment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 32
Date: 2023-03-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dev and nep-mon
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