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Inequality in South Africa: The distribution of income, expenditure and earnings

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  • Fiona Tregenna
  • Mfanafuthi Tsela

Abstract

This article empirically analyses the state of inequality in South Africa. International comparisons show South Africa to be among the most unequal countries in the world. The levels of income inequality and earnings inequality are analysed with a range of measures and methods. The results quantify the extremely high level of inequality in South Africa. Earnings inequality appears to be falling in recent years, with relative losses in the upper-middle parts of the earnings distribution. Decomposing income inequality by factor source reveals the importance of earnings in accounting for overall income inequality. The article concludes by observing that, internationally, significant sustained decreases in inequality rarely come about without policies aimed at achieving that, and suggests that strong policy interventions would be needed to reduce inequality in South Africa to levels that are in the range typically found internationally.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/0376835X.2012.645640
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Development Southern Africa.

Volume (Year): 29 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 35-61

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Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:1:p:35-61

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Cited by:
  1. Tregenna, Fiona, 2011. "Halving Poverty in South Africa: Growth and Distributional Aspects," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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