Youth Unemployment in Mexico and Central America

  •  Luis Rene Caceres    


The objective of this paper is to identify the variables that determine female and male youth unemployment rates, as well as female and male self-employment rates, in Mexico and Central American countries. The methodology of the analysis rests on the estimation of VAR models with panel data from the period 1990-2018. The results indicate that there are gender differences in the behaviour of unemployment and self-employment rates: remittances increase female unemployment, but not male unemployment; the human development index and economic growth rate reduce male unemployment, but not female unemployment. In addition, female and male self-employment rates fall with the rise in the human development index, but only the male one falls to rising economic growth. These results had not been reported in the literature. The paper also presents a review of labor market developments in Latin America associated with the Covid pandemic. The main recommendation from this paper is that social policies related to unemployment must take explicit steps to address the difficulties young women face in the labour market. This paper is original since there are very few studies of youth unemployment for Latin American countries; it is the first to be based on the estimation of VAR models. The work concludes with a number of policy recommendations that should be put in place to combat the “culture” of abuse and discrimination faced by women in the labour market.

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