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Educational attainment and intergenerational social mobility in South Africa

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Author Info

  • Megan Louw

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Servaas van der Berg

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Derek Yu

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

To a large degree, the notoriously high levels of income inequality in South Africa have their roots in differential access to wage-earning opportunities in the labour market, which in turn are influenced by family background. This paper therefore investigates the role that parents’ education plays in children’s human capital accumulation. The study analyses patterns of educational attainment in South Africa during the period 1970-2001, asking whether intergenerational social mobility has improved. It tackles the issue in two ways, combining extensive descriptive analysis of progress in educational attainment with more a formal evaluation of intergenerational social mobility using indices constructed by Dahan and Gaviria (2001) and Behrman, Birdsall and Szekely (1998). Both types of analysis indicate that intergenerational social mobility within race groups improved over the period, with the indices suggesting that South African children are currently better able to take advantage of educational opportunities than the bulk of their peers in comparable countries. However, significant racial barriers remain in the quest to equalise educational opportunities across the board for South African children.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2006/wp092006/wp-09-2006.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 09/2006.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers23

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Keywords: Analysis of education; intergenerational mobility;

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References

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  1. François Bourguignon & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2003. "Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in Brazil," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-630, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jere R. Behrman & Nancy Birdsall & Miguel Székely, 1998. "Intergenerational Schooling Mobility and Macro Conditions and Schooling Policies in Latin America," IDB Publications 6446, Inter-American Development Bank.
  4. Case, A. & Deaton, A., 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Papers, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies 176, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  5. Anne Case & Motohiro Yogo, 1999. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Schools in South Africa," Working Papers, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies. 219, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  6. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Dahan, Momi & Gaviria, Alejandro, 2001. "Sibling Correlations and Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 537-54, April.
  8. Haroon Bhorat, 2004. "Labour Market Challenges In The Post-Apartheid South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 940-977, December.
  9. Ranjan Ray, 2000. "Poverty and expenditure pattern of households in Pakistan and South Africa: a comparative study," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 241-256.
  10. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs And Educational Outcomes In South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084, August.
  11. Thomas, Duncan, 1996. "Education across Generations in South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 330-34, May.
  12. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002. "Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 323-334, March.
  13. Jere R. Behrman & Alejandro Gaviria Uribe & Miguel Székely, 2001. "Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," WORKING PAPERS SERIES. DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO, FEDESARROLLO 002914, FEDESARROLLO.
  14. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Child Health and Household Resources in South Africa: Evidence from the Old Age Pension Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 393-398, May.
  15. Eric V. Edmonds, 2004. "Does Illiquidity Alter Child Labor and Schooling Decisions? Evidence from Household Responses to Anticipated Cash Transfers in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 10265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Irene YH Ng & Xiaoyi Shen & Kong Weng Ho, 2008. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in Singapore and the United States," Economic Growth centre Working Paper Series, Nanyang Technolgical University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economic Growth centre 0803, Nanyang Technolgical University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Economic Growth centre.
  2. Malcolm Keswell & Sarah Girdwood & Murray Leibbrandt, 2013. "Educational Inheritance and the Distribution of Occupations: Evidence from South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59, pages S111-S137, October.
  3. Servaas van der Berg & Megan Louw, 2007. "Lessons learnt from SACMEQII: South African student performance in regional context," Working Papers 16/2007, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  4. Binzel, Christine, 2011. "Decline in Social Mobility: Unfulfilled Aspirations among Egypt's Educated Youth," IZA Discussion Papers 6139, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Dave Liu, 2007. "Growth Theory and Application: The Case of South Africa," Working Papers 200714, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
  6. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie, 2011. "The South African unemployment debate: three worlds, three discourses?," SALDRU Working Papers, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town 63, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  7. Majumder, Rajarshi, 2010. "Intergenerational mobility in educational & occupational attainment: a comparative study of social classes in India," MPRA Paper 40939, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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