The employment impact of product innovations in sub-Saharan Africa: Firm-level evidence

Elvis Avenyo, Maty Konte & Pierre Mohnen


Innovation has become a key interest in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as it is argued to be pervasive, and play eminent role in generating employment. There is, however, a dearth of empirical evidence assessing the impact of innovation on firm employment for SSA. This paper investigates the impact of product innovations on job creation using data from the recent waves of the Enterprise Survey merged with Innovation Follow-Up Survey for SSA countries for which both surveys are available. We apply the Dose Response Model under continuous and heterogeneous responses to treatment. The results reveal a positive impact of product innovations on total employment. This result is, however, found to hold only at specific intervals of product innovation intensities. Our analyses also show that product innovations tend to create both temporary and permanent jobs as well as skilled and unskilled jobs. However, the positive impact of product innovations on temporary and unskilled employment tends to outweigh that of permanent and skilled employment, raising questions about the security and quality of the new jobs generated by product innovations.

Keywords: Employment, Product Innovations, Dose Response Model, sub-Saharan Africa

JEL Classification: J23, J3, O31, O33, L1

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