Exporters, Importers and Employment: Firm-Level Evidence from Africa

Author: Christian Viegelahn, Marta Duda-Nyczak
Regions: Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2016

This article studies the relationship between firms’export and import status and the quantity and types of employment they offer, using firm-level data from 47 African countries for the period 2006–14. The article also analyses how the quality of policies at the country-level can relate to the difference between exporters and non-exporters, and importers and non-importers. This article shows that both exporters and importers employ, on average, more full-time permanent workers than their respective non-trading counterparts, even after controlling for a wide range of firm-level characteristics. This employment premium is larger in countries with better quality of infrastructure. In addition, importers employ higher shares of non-production workers compared to non-importers. In addition, both exporters and importers are characterised by higher shares of female employment than their non-trading counterparts. Successful gender policies are positively associated with the female employment premium of trading firms. This article also finds that there is a larger proportion of temporary workers amongst the exporters’ workforce compared to non-exporters, but a better developed rural sector reduces this difference in the use of temporary manpower. The results presented in this article suggest that the quality of policies impacts the extent to which trading firms are able to generate decent job opportunities in Africa.

Link to article 

Social Protection and Human Rights