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Changing Patterns Of South African Income Distribution: Towards Time Series Estimates Of Distribution And Poverty

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  • SERVAAS VAN DER BERG
  • MEGAN LOUW

Abstract

Research on income distribution in South Africa has, for obvious reasons, focused on inter-racial (inter-group) income distribution. Quite dramatic changes have occurred in inter-racial income distribution patterns since the 1970s, with the black share of income rising for the first time and at times exceeding the rise in their population share. This implies a narrowing inter-racial income gap. Data on income distribution remain scarce, so that it remains difficult to obtain the full picture about changes in income distribution. In particular, widening inequality within the black population has received much attention. Rises in black unemployment and in black wages have had inequality-inducing effects on black incomes. Is maldistribution of income between races now making way for maldistribution of income within race groups? Put differently, is inequality shifting from inter-group to intra-group inequality (from between group to within group inequality)? This paper pieces together information from various sources of data (censuses, household surveys, marketing surveys, published wage data series, etc.) to inform estimates of inter- and intra-group distribution over a longer time frame, in an effort to improve analysis of income inequality and poverty trends. These income distribution patterns also have considerable implications for the growth and evolution of the South African consumer market.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Economic Society of South Africa in its journal South African Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 72 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 546-572

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Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:72:y:2004:i:3:p:546-572

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  1. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 8904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2002. "The world distribution of income (estimated from individual country distributions)," Discussion Papers 0102-58, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
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  6. Haroon Bhorat, 2004. "Labour Market Challenges In The Post-Apartheid South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 940-977, December.
  7. Danny Quah, 2002. "One Third of the Worlds Growth and Inequality," CEP Discussion Papers dp0535, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "Levels, trends and consistency of employment and unemployment figures in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 3-35.
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