Evaluating Labor Market Outcomes of Education Assistance Programme: Evidence from Randomized Control Trial in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa
As economies have suffered from volatile economic cycles, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic, enhancing employment opportunities among the youth has taken center stage in development policy discussions in low- and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa’s Basic Education Employment Initiative (BEEI) is the largest Public Employment Programme (PEP) that the South African government has implemented. Through a partnership with the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI) partner, Harambee, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) utilized the South African Youth Platform to advertise, receive applications from, and shortlist applications based on a set of criteria provided by the department. There was a rule-based selection of applicants based on two criteria: Only applicants who lived within a radius of 8 kilometers of the schools were eligible. Within the pool of eligible candidates, prioritization was based on matriculation results. However, in many cases, a candidate with good matriculation results from the pool of applicants would live within 5 to 8 kilometers of more than one school. In such cases, assignment to one school over the other(s) would be random or quasi-random. The study’s research design will utilize this random assignment to estimate the impact of the quality of the training experience and the willingness to provide reference letters on the candidates’ increased likelihood to find work. Because the study will focus on cases where a candidate was within an 8-kilometer radius of more than one school, it will have an urban focus. We will compare the effects across sub-districts with high and low youth employment to estimate the contribution of the labor market context.