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Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa, 1903-2007

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  • Alvaredo, Facundo
  • Atkinson, Anthony B

Abstract

There have been important studies of overall income inequality and of poverty in South Africa. In this paper, we approach the subject from a different direction: the extent and evolution of top incomes. We present estimates of the shares in total income of groups such as the top 1 per cent and the top 0.1 per cent, covering, with gaps, more than a hundred years. In order to explain the observed dynamics, here we consider three factors: the transfer of political authority, racial discrimination, and the rich mineral resources. The estimates of top income shares for recent years bear out the picture of South Africa as a highly unequal country.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8155.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8155

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Related research

Keywords: distribution; income taxation; South Africa; top income shares;

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References

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  1. Simon Kuznets, 1950. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn50-1, October.
  2. Servaas van der Berg & Megan Louw, 2003. "Changing Patterns of South African income distribution: Towards time series estimates of distribution and poverty," Working Papers 02/2003, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  3. A.B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2006. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 514, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Janine Aron & Geeta Kingdon, 2007. "South African Economic Policy Under Democracy," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 661-667, November.
  5. Brian Dollery, 2003. "A History Of Inequality In South Africa, 1652-2002," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(3), pages 595-610, 09.
  6. Murray Leibbrandt & Ingrid Woolard & Arden Finn & Jonathan Argent, 2010. "Trends in South African Income Distribution and Poverty since the Fall of Apartheid," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 101, OECD Publishing.
  7. A. B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Top Incomes In New Zealand 1921-2005: Understanding The Effects Of Marginal Tax Rates, Migration Threat, And The Macroeconomy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(2), pages 149-165, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Facundo Alvaredo & Leonardo Gasparini, 2013. "Recent Trends in Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0151, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

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