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Changing Patterns of South African income distribution: Towards time series estimates of distribution and poverty

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  • Servaas van der Berg

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Megan Louw

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

Research on income distribution in South Africa has, for obvious reasons, focused on inter-racial (inter-group) income distribution. Quite dramatic changes have occurred in inter-racial income distribution patterns since the 1970s, with the black share of income rising for the first time and at times exceeding the rise in their population share. This implies a narrowing inter-racial income gap. Data on income distribution remain scarce, so that it remains difficult to obtain the full picture about changes in income distribution. In particular, widening inequality within the black population has received much attention. Rises in black unemployment and in black wages have had inequality-inducing effects on black incomes. Is maldistribution of income between races now making way for maldistribution of income within race groups? Put differently, is inequality shifting from inter-group to intra-group inequality (from between group to within group inequality)? This paper pieces together information from various sources of data (censuses, household surveys, marketing surveys, published wage data series, etc.) to inform estimates of inter- and intra-group distribution over a longer time frame, in an effort to improve analysis of income inequality and poverty trends. These income distribution patterns also have considerable implications for the growth and evolution of the South African consumer market.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2003/wp022003/wp-02-2003.pdf
File Function: First version, 2003
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 02/2003.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers8

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Keywords: income distribution; South Africa; time series; poverty;

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  1. Murray Leibbrandt & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "A comparison of poverty in South Africa's nine provinces," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 37-54.
  2. Quah, Danny, 2002. "One Third of the World's Growth and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3316, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Danny Quah, 2002. "One third of the world's growth and inequality," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2019, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Danny Quah, 2002. "One Third of the Worlds Growth and Inequality," CEP Discussion Papers dp0535, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Quah, Danny, 2002. "One Third of the World's Growth and Inequality," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Haroon Bhorat, 2004. "Labour Market Challenges In The Post-Apartheid South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 940-977, December.
  7. Stephan Klasen & Ingrid Woolard, 1999. "Levels, trends and consistency of employment and unemployment figures in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 3-35.
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