LMIP-HSRC Seminar Series: Skills mismatch and informal sector participation among educated immigrants: Evidence from South Africa

Event date: 
Thursday, 30 October 2014 -
12:30pm to 1:30pm


Dr. Asha Sundaram and Dr Amos Peters, School of Economics, University of Cape Town.

About this seminar:

Using South African census data, we show that immigrants with tertiary education from different origin country groups differ in their likelihood of obtaining a skilled job.  Immigrants from advanced country groups outperform native internal migrants, while those from many African country groups underperform them.    Immigrants with advanced degrees from certain country groups are also more likely to be employed in unskilled, informal sector jobs.  Variation in outcomes across origin country groups is smaller at higher levels of education.  We further explore characteristics of origin country groups correlated with immigrant outcomes.  Our results suggest under-utilization of immigrant skills, which has particular implications for emerging economies grappling with skills shortages. 

Asha Sundaram is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics, University of Cape Town.  She has a Masters in Economics from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Economics from Syracuse University, New York.  She also worked for the Development Economics Research Group at the World Bank in Washington D.C.  Her research interests span the areas of International Trade and Development Economics.  Currently, her work focuses on the impact of trade liberalization on firms, firm export behavior and immigration.

Amos Peters is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics, University of Cape Town. He has a Masters in Economics from the University of Toronto and a PhD in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has worked at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Caribbean Community Secretariat. His research interests are in the areas of International Economics with a focus on exchange rate dynamics, exchange rate policy in the area of international finance and migration and health, and migration and development in the area of Immigration.

Venues and contacts:

Cape Town: HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or [email protected]

Durban:  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or [email protected]

Pretoria: HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: [email protected]

Please RSVP by 28 October 2014