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Convergence Of A Kind: Educational Attainment And Intergenerational Social Mobility In South Africa

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  • Megan Louw
  • Servaas Van der berg
  • Derek Yu

Abstract

To a large degree, the notoriously high levels of income inequality in South Africa have their roots in differential access to wage-earning opportunities in the labour market, which in turn are influenced by family background. This paper therefore investigates the role that parents' education plays in children's human capital accumulation. The study analyses patterns of educational attainment in South Africa during the period 1970-2001, asking whether intergenerational social mobility has improved. It tackles the issue in two ways, combining extensive descriptive analysis of progress in educational attainment with a more formal evaluation of intergenerational social mobility using indices constructed by Dahan and Gaviria, and Behrman "et al". Both types of analysis indicate that intergenerational social mobility within race groups improved over the period, with the indices suggesting that South African children are currently better able to take advantage of educational opportunities than the bulk of their peers in comparable countries, at least up to lower secondary school level. However, the greater distance to go in achieving educational convergence between race groups at higher education levels reflect a major deficit: Educational "quality" differentials are still large and reflected in big differences in matriculation rates and tertiary qualifications by race. Copyright (c) 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation (c) 2007 Economic Society of South Africa.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 75 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 548-571

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Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:75:y:2007:i:3:p:548-571

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas Laurent & Fabrice Murtin & Geoff Barnard & Dean Janse van Rensburg & Vijay Reddy & George Frempong & Lolita Winnaar, 2013. "Policy Determinants of School Outcomes Under Model Uncertainty: Evidence from South Africa," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1057, OECD Publishing.
  2. Irene YH Ng & Xiaoyi Shen & Kong Weng Ho, 2008. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in Singapore and the United States," Economic Growth centre Working Paper Series, Nanyang Technolgical University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economic Growth centre 0803, Nanyang Technolgical University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economic Growth centre.
  3. Hendrik van Broekhuizen & Dieter von Fintel, 2010. "Who Responds to Voluntary Cognitive Tests in Household Surveys? The Role of Labour Market Status, Respondent Confidence, Motivation and a Culture of Learning in South Africa," Working Papers 27/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  4. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie, 2011. "The South African unemployment debate: three worlds, three discourses?," SALDRU Working Papers, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town 63, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  5. Binzel, Christine & Carvalho, Jean-Paul, 2013. "Education, Social Mobility and Religious Movements: A Theory of the Islamic Revival in Egypt," IZA Discussion Papers 7259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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