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Earnings and Employment Dynamics for Africans in Post-apartheid South Africa: A Panel Study of KwaZulu-Natal

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Author Info

  • Paul Cichello
  • Gary Fields
  • Murray Leibbrandt

    ()
    (University of Cape Town)

Abstract

The labour market is central in determining individual and household well-being in South Africa. Therefore, an understanding of earnings and employment dynamics is a key policy issue. However, the absence of panel data has constrained empirical work addressing these topics. This paper conducts such a study using a regional panel data set, the KwaZulu-Natal Income Dynamics Study (KIDS). The authors find that, on average, working aged Africans in KwaZulu-Natal experienced large gains in earnings during the 1993 to 1998 period. These gains were progressive in nature, with the highest quintile of 1993 earners and those originally employed in the formal sector actually experiencing zero or negative growth in their average earnings. The average gain in earnings varied substantially depending on the employment transitions that labour force participants experienced. Obtaining formal sector employment is found to be an important pathway to growth in earnings, yet the vast majority of those who get ahead do so by retaining employment in a given sector or moving to the informal sector. The dynamism of the informal sector over this period is shown to be an important contributor to the progressive growth in earnings. Government policies that seek to increase employment and earnings in the informal as well as formal sectors are recommended. Understanding the constraints preventing the vast number of unemployed from engaging in informal employment is shown to be a key issue for future work.

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File URL: http://www.dpru.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/36/DPRU%20WP03-077.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 03077.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, May 2003, pages 1-37
Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:03077

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Related research

Keywords: South Africa: labour market; household well-being; earnings and employment dynamics;

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References

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  1. Julian F. Hofmeyr & Robert E. B. Lucas, 1998. "The Rise in Union Wage Premia in South Africa," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 83, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Moll, Peter G., 1993. "Industry wage differentials and efficiency wages : A dissenting view with South African evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 213-246, August.
  3. M Leibbrandt & H Bhorat & I Woolard, 2001. "Household Inequality And The Labor Market In South Africa," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(1), pages 73-86, 01.
  4. Fields, Gary S. & Cichello, Paul & Freije, Samuel & Menéndez, Marta & Newhouse, David, 2003. "Household income dynamics : a four-country story," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1562, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
  6. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 2009. "Surviving Unemployment Without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(1), pages 1-51, January.
  7. Haroon Bhorat, 2000. "Wage premia and wage differentials in the South African labour market," Working Papers 00043, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  8. Geeta Kingdon & John Knight, 2000. "Are Searching and Non-searching Unemployment Distinct States when Unemployment is High? The Case of South Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-02, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Schultz, T.P. & Mwabu, G., 1997. "Labor Unions and the Distribution of Wages and Employment in South Africa," Papers 776, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  10. Fields, Gary S & Yoo, Gyeongjoon, 2000. "Falling Labor Income Inequality in Korea's Economic Growth: Patterns and Underlying Causes," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(2), pages 139-59, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur, 2005. "Poverty and Well-being in Post-Apartheid South Africa: An Overview of Data, Outcomes and Policy," Working Papers 05101, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  2. Johannes Fedderke, 2012. "The Cost of Rigidity: The Case of the South African Labor Market," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 54(4), pages 809-842, December.
  3. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2009. "The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence Using Quantile Regressions on Panel Data," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 09-06, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  4. Alex Sienaert, 2008. "Some Child Cost Estimates for South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-15, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  5. Andrew Kerr & Francis Teal, 2012. "The Determinants of Earnings Inequalities: Panel data evidence from South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2009. "The Informal Sector Wage Gap - New Evidence Using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data," Working Papers 200905, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  7. Simon Quinn & Francis Teal, 2008. "Private sector development and income dynamics: A panel study of the Tanzanian labour market," CSAE Working Paper Series 2008-09, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  8. Stefan Dercon & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2007. "Moving On, Staying Behind, Getting Lost: Lessons on poverty mobility from longitudinal data," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-075, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  9. Andrew Kerr & Martin Wittenberg & Jairo Arrow, 2013. "Job Creation and Destruction in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 092, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  10. repec:ldr:wpaper:92 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Rosa Dias & Dorrit Posel, 2007. "Unemployment, Education and Skills Constraints in Post-Apartheid South Africa," Working Papers 07120, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  12. Bargain, Olivier & Kwenda, Prudence, 2010. "Is Informality Bad? Evidence from Brazil, Mexico and South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 4711, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2013. "The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data," Working Papers halshs-00967324, HAL.
  14. Finn, Arden & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2013. "Mobility and Inequality in the First Three Waves of NIDS," SALDRU Working Papers 120, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  15. Essers, Dennis, 2013. "South African labour market transitions during the global financial and economic crisis: Micro-level evidence from the NIDS panel and matched QLFS cross-sections," IOB Working Papers 2013.12, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB).
  16. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2013. "The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data," AMSE Working Papers 1360, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jun 2013.
  17. Alex Sienaert, 2008. "Some Child Cost Estimates for South Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2008-15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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