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Young people school-to-work transition in the aftermath of the Arab Spring: Early evidence from Egypt

Irene Selwaness (Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt)
Rania Roushdy (Department of Economics, Business School, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 4 February 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine the school-to-work transition of young people from subsequent school exit cohorts between 2001 and 2012 in Egypt, thus, presenting an early evidence on the adjustments of the labor market in terms of patterns of youth transition to a first job following the 2011 Egyptian uprising.


The analysis compares the early employment outcomes of those who left school after the January 25, 2011 uprising to that of those who left before 2011. The authors also separately control for the cohorts who left school in 2008 and 2009, in an attempt to disentangle any labor market adjustments that might have happened following the financial crisis, and before the revolution. Using novel and unexploited representative data from the 2014 Survey of Young People in Egypt (SYPE), the authors estimate the probability of transition to any first job within 18 months from leaving education and that of the transition to a good-quality job, controlling for the year of school exit. The authors also estimate the hazard of finding a first job and a good-quality job using survival analysis.


School exit cohorts of 2008–2009 (following the financial crisis) and those of 2011–2012 (in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings) experienced a significantly higher likelihood of finding a first job within 18 months than that of the cohorts of 2001–2007. However, this came at the expense of the quality of job, conditional on having found a first job. The results of the hazard model show that school leavers after 2008 who were not able to transition to a job shortly after leaving school experienced longer unemployment spells than their peers who left school before 2007. The odds of finding a good-quality job appears to decline with time spent in non-employment or in a bad-quality first job.


This paper contributes to a limited, yet growing, literature on how school-to-work transition evolved during the global financial crisis and the Egyptian 2011 revolution. Using data from SYPE 2014, the most recent representative survey conducted in Egypt on youth and not previously exploited to study youth school-to-work transition, the paper investigates the short-term adjustments of the youth labor market opportunities during that critical period of Egypt and the region’s history.



The authors would like to thank Ragui Assaad and Caroline Krafft for their valuable input and comments, and acknowledge the comments of participants of the 2016 22nd Economics Research Forum Annual Conference in Cairo, of the 2015 Population Association of America (PAA) annual meeting in San Diego, USA, and of the 2014 Stochastic Modeling Techniques and Data Analysis International Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. There is no conflict of interest associated with this research.


Selwaness, I. and Roushdy, R. (2019), "Young people school-to-work transition in the aftermath of the Arab Spring: Early evidence from Egypt", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 398-432.



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