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The dynamics of inequality in a newly settled, preindustrial society: The case of the Cape Colony

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  • Johan Fourie
  • Dieter von Fintel

Abstract

Inequality is a major concern in many of the world’s developing regions. South Africa is no exception, as the voluminous literature on the subject attests to (see Bhorat and Kanbur 2006, for example). Indeed, modern South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world, primarily as a result of institutionalised inequality under colonial segregation and Apartheid, but potentially also stemming from the set of institutions created much earlier under Dutch and British colonial rule (Terreblanche 2002). This paper will investigate inequality in the early colonial period. It is apparent in the literature that inequality is severely persistent; countries that exhibit high inequality from early stages of development generally continue to do so later on, while few policy prescriptions are successful in reversing the trend, even in times of high and sustained economic growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 134.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:134

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References

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  1. Milanovic, Branko & Lindert, Peter & Williamson, Jeffrey, 2007. "Measuring Ancient Inequality," MPRA Paper 5388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Kuznets, Simon, 1973. "Modern Economic Growth: Findings and Reflections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 247-58, June.
  3. Jane Fry & Tim Fry & Keith McLaren, 2000. "Compositional data analysis and zeros in micro data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(8), pages 953-959.
  4. Keen, Michael, 1986. "Zero Expenditures and the Estimation of Engel Curves," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 277-86, July.
  5. Willem H Boshoff & Johan Fourie, 2008. "The significance of the Cape trade route to economic activity in the Cape colony: a medium-term business cycle analysis," Working Papers 23/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  6. Champernowne, D G, 1974. "A Comparison of Measures of Inequality of Income Distribution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(336), pages 787-816, December.
  7. David McKenzie, 2005. "Measuring inequality with asset indicators," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 229-260, 06.
  8. Ewout Frankema, 2010. "The colonial roots of land inequality: geography, factor endowments, or institutions?," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 418-451, 05.
  9. Morrisson, Christian, 2000. "Historical perspectives on income distribution: The case of Europe," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 217-260 Elsevier.
  10. Chen, Chau-Nan & Tsaur, Tien-Wang & Rhai, Tong-Shieng, 1982. "The Gini Coefficient and Negative Income," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 473-78, November.
  11. Willem Boshoff & Johan Fourie, 2008. "Explaining ship traffic fluctuations in the early Cape settlement: 1652–1793," Working Papers 01/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  12. Feinstein, Charles, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the Williamson Curve," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 699-729, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Piraino, Patrizio & Muller, Sean & Cilliers, Jeanne & Fourie, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of longevity across generations: The case of the settler Cape Colony," SALDRU Working Papers 113, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  2. Johan Fourie & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2012. "GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The national accounts of a slave-based society," Working Papers 0030, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  3. Johan Fourie, 2011. "Slaves as capital investment in the Dutch Cape Colony, 1652-1795," Working Papers 21/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  4. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History 124, Department of Economic History, Lund University.

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