Wage Trends in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Constructing an Earnings Series from Household Survey Data
AbstractThis paper examines South African wage earnings trends using all the available post-1994 household survey datasets. This allows us to identify and address the sources of data inconsistencies across surveys in order to construct a more comparable earnings time series. Taking account of the inconsistencies in questionnaire design and the presence of outliers, we find that it is possible to construct a fairly stable earnings series for formal sector employees. We find that claims that workers have on average experienced a substantial decrease in their real wage earnings in the post-apartheid era is based on choosing datasets on either side of Statistics South Africa’s changeover from October Household Surveys (OHS) to the more consistent Labour Force Surveys (LFS), which caused a discontinuous and inexplicably large drop in average earnings. The data actually show an increase in real wage earnings in the post-transition period for formal sector employees, and does not provide strong evidence of decreasing wages in the informal economy. The paper also investigates changes in the distribution of earnings, as well as mean earnings trends by population group, gender and skill category.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit in its series Working Papers with number 07117.
Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Working Paper Series by the Development Policy Research Unit, February 2007, pages 1-19
South Africa: Earnings; Wages; Labour market trends;
Other versions of this item:
- Rulof Burger & Derek Yu, 2006. "Wage trends in post-apartheid South Africa: Constructing an earnings series from household survey data," Working Papers 10/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
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- Hassan Essop & Derek Yu, 2008. "The South African informal sector (1997 – 2006)," Working Papers 03/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
- Derek Yu, 2008. "The South African labour market: 1995 – 2006," Working Papers 05/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
- Nicola Branson & Martin Wittenberg, 2011. "Re-weighting South African National Household Survey Data to create a consistent series over time: A cross entropy estimation approach," SALDRU Working Papers 54, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
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- Haroon Bhorat & Sumayya Goga, 2012. "The Gender Wage Gap in the Post-apartheid South African Labour Market," Working Papers 12148, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
- Derek Yu, 2007. "The comparability of the Statistics South Africa October Household Surveys and Labour Force Surveys," Working Papers 17/2007, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
- Nicola Branson, 2009. "Re-weighting the OHS and LFS National household Survey Data to create a consistent series over time: A Cross Entropy Estimation Approach," SALDRU Working Papers 38, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
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