Current poverty and income distribution in the context of South African history
AbstractThis 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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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 22/2010.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
South Africa; poverty; income distribution; labour market;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
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- 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.
- 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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