Not Just Luck: Characteristics and Attitudes Related to Employment in Different Sectors in Rural Ethiopia

Lisbeth Trille G. Loft, Brown University
Carrie E. Spearin, Brown University
Dennis Hogan, Brown University

Ethiopia accounts for the largest youth population in Sub-Saharan Africa and the lack of employment opportunities for Ethiopian young people is among the critical developing challenges facing the country. Yet, there is a drought of research on specific factors affecting youth employment in Ethiopia. Only a limited number of studies have address how individual background characteristics and social context affect adolescents’ attitudes towards occupational attainment. This paper investigates this relationship by examining how background and contextual characteristics affect perceived importance of ascribed and achieved characteristics on becoming a farmer, kiosk owner, school teacher or office worker. In addition, we also consider adolescents’ perception of “luck” on occupational achievement. The results from this paper add to the current debate regarding those factors which influence educational attainment and occupational choice, shifting the debate away from traditional issues affecting occupational choice and attitudes, such as intergenerational transfers of education and occupational experience

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Presented in Session 83: Schooling and the Transition to Adulthood