Youth unemployment in Southern Africa: the role of corruption

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University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Youth unemployment in Southern African countries remains a key concern and continues to have undesirable consequences as it leads to stagnant economic growth due to an inactive labour market and increasing pressure on the government to issue security grants amongst other issues. Most countries in Southern Africa have been faced with high youth unemployment, and policies that have been implemented thus far to counter this problem have resulted in limited success. This research aims to achieve two objectives: (i) examine the determinants of youth unemployment in Southern Africa between 1990 and 2019 and (ii) the impact of corruption on youth unemployment. Using a battery of panel data estimations techniques such as OLS, DOLS, and FMOLS simultaneously with the panel ARDL, this study assessed the relationship between corruption and youth unemployment in the 10 Southern African countries from 1990 to 2019. The findings reveal that there is a positive and significant relationship between corruption perception and youth unemployment. That is, as a country becomes less corrupt, youth unemployment increases. The cointegration analysis applied using the Pedroni and Kao tests concludes that there is a presence of a stable, long-run relationship using the combination of the variables from the model. The main conclusion from the study is that there is an indirect relationship between corruption and youth unemployment through the economic growth channel. This paper argued that corruption can promote efficiency by giving way to save time in lengthy and complex processes and rules by encouraging illegal trade. The expansion of the underground economy when corruption increases also aid in absorbing young people in the informal sector. Given that corruption is so embedded in Southern African countries, this paper recommends that when attempting to combat it, measures should be put in place to ensure that young people in the informal economy or participating and benefiting from the loopholes in the legal institutions get absorbed so that youth unemployment does not increase nor exacerbate
A dissertation submitted towards the partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Economic Science degree by coursework and thesis at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2023
Unemployment, Corruption, Youth unemployment, UCTD
Siboyi, Lebo. (2023). Youth unemployment in Southern Africa: the role of corruption [Master’s dissertation, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg]. WireDSpace.