Occupational Choice in the Developing World

Paula Nagler, UNU-MERIT / School of Governance

The thesis studies two topics: rural entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the introduction of a new unemployment insurance scheme in Chile – within the context of occupational choices under restricted conditions. In the first part, the patterns of rural entrepreneurship in six African countries are outlined, before analyzing the decision to operate an enterprise and its subsequent productivity. The thesis finds that entrepreneurship is ubiquitous in rural Africa, and that households operate businesses due to both pull and push factors. The results also show that the initial motivation to operate an enterprise affects its subsequent labor productivity. In the second part, the outcomes of a new policy introduction in Chile are examined: if a new unemployment protection scheme had an effect on employment duration, as well as on subsequent employment quality (measured by wage and contract type). The thesis finds that workers have shorter employment durations if affiliated to the new scheme, but that the effect on subsequent employment quality is limited: while contract types are not affected, wage growth is negatively affected, but the difference very small.

Key words: occupational choice, entrepreneurship in rural Africa, unemployment protection, Chile, labor markets

Venue: Aula, Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht

Date: 09 October 2015

Time: 10:00 - 11:30