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Current poverty and income distribution in the context of South African history

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Author Info

  • Servaas van der Berg

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

Abstract

This paper describes and analyses current poverty and income distribution in South Africa, with a central concern the relationship between poverty, inequality and growth. The paper also investigates patterns of and trends in poverty and income distribution, a literature with a long and distinguished history. Drawing from recent literature in this regard, the paper shows that the labour market – rather than access to wealth or to political and fiscal power – currently sets the limits to redistribution. Wage inequality, deeply rooted in South Africa’s history, plays a central role in overall income distribution, and patterns of human capital development are fundamental to the future growth path and therefore to poverty and income distribution. The paper therefore concludes that reducing inequality substantially is currently unlikely without a massive increase in the human capital of those presently poor, but that prospects in this regard are inauspicious.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2010/wp222010/wp-22-2010.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 22/2010.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers121

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Related research

Keywords: South Africa; poverty; income distribution; labour market;

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References

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  1. Murray Leibbrandt & Haroon Bhorat, 1999. "Modelling Vulnerability and Low Earnings in the South African Labour Market," Working Papers 99032, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. South Africa will remain a hugely unequal society for a long time
    by Servaas van der Berg, Professor of Economics and South African Research Chair in the Economics of Social Policy at Stellenbosch University in The Conversation on 2014-05-07 04:59:33
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Cited by:
  1. Miquel Pellicer & Vimal Ranchhod & Mare Sarr & Eva Wegner, 2011. "Inequality Traps in South Africa: An overview and research agenda," SALDRU Working Papers 57, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

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