Labor Market Dynamics and Youth Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa: Evidence From Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia

It is by now well established that unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a phenomenon that is primarily associated with the labor market insertion of youth as they transition from school to work. Although the predominance of youth among the unemployed is well established in the literature, the dynamics driving youth unemployment remain poorly understood. The study of dynamics requires information about various labor market flows andnot simply about the stocks of the employed and unemployed. Such information is not present in the cross-sectional labor force surveys that are typically available in the MENA region. Bymaking use of panel and retrospective data from the Labor Market Panel Surveys implemented by the Economic Research Forum (ERF) in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, It is possible to substantially improve our understanding of youth unemployment in MENA by studying flows into and out of employment and unemployment.

Ragui Assaad, Caroline Kraftt, University of Minnesota

Economic Research Forum

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