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Wages and wage elasticities for wine and table grapes in South Africa

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  • Conradie, Beatrice

Abstract

A survey of 190 wine and table grape farmers in the Western Cape puts the average wage for farm labour at R928 per month in 2003 and R1123 per month in 2004. Output per worker has doubled since 1983. On farms with grape harvesters, labour is 30 per cent more productive (48 ton/worker) than on farms where wine grapes are picked by hand (37 ton/worker). At 9.75 tons per worker, table grapes are four times as labour-intensive as wine grapes. Resident men dominate the workforce on wine farms, while the resident female workforce is 20 per cent larger than the resident male workforce on table grape farms. Seasonal workers contribute a third of labour in table grapes, and brokers less than ten per cent in either case. In a single-equation short-run Hicksian demand function, wage, output, capital levels and mechanisation intensities are highly significant determinants of employment. Higher wages decrease employment and larger output increases employment. More mechanisation, measured by the number of tractors used to produce a ton of fruit, raises labour intensity too. Grape harvesters could not be shown to reduce jobs. The ten per cent rise in the minimum wage planned for March 2005 could reduce employment by 3.3 per cent in the wine industry and 5.9 per cent in the table grape industry, but it is more likely that the wage increase will be offset against fewer benefits. The average expected impact is about the same as for all agriculture and manufacturing as a whole.

Suggested Citation

  • Conradie, Beatrice, 2005. "Wages and wage elasticities for wine and table grapes in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:31716
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Wittenberg, 2004. "The Mystery Of South Africa'S Ghost Workers In 1996: Measurement And Mismeasurement In The Manufacturing Census, Population Census And October Household Surveys," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 1003-1022, December.
    2. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur & Natasha Mayet, 2013. "The impact of sectoral minimum wage laws on employment, wages, and hours of work in South Africa," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, December.
    3. Bhorat, Haroon & Naidoo, Karmen & Yu, Derek, 2014. "Trade unions in an emerging economy: The case of South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 055, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. repec:spr:jlabre:v:38:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12122-017-9241-z is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Sparrow, G.N. & Ortmann, Gerald F. & Lyne, Michael C. & Darroch, Mark A.G., 2008. "Determinants of the demand for regular farm labour in South Africa, 1960-2002," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 47(1), March.
    6. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur & Benjamin Stanwix, 2014. "Estimating the Impact of Minimum Wages on Employment, Wages, and Non-Wage Benefits: The Case of Agriculture in South Africa," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1402-1419.
    7. Stephen Greenberg, 2013. "A gendered analysis of wine export value chains from South Africa to Sweden," Agrekon, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(3), pages 34-62, September.
    8. Murray, Justin & van Walbeek, Corne, 2007. "Impact of the Sectoral Determination for Farm Workers on the South African Sugar Industry: Case Study of the KwaZulu-Natal North and South Coasts," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 46(1), March.
    9. Haroon Bhorat & Tara Caetano & Benjamin Jourdan & Ravi Kanbur & Christopher Rooney & Benjamin Stanwix & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa," Working Papers 201601, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    10. Thirtle, Colin G. & Piesse, Jenifer & Gouse, Marnus, 2005. "Agricultural technology, productivity and employment: Policies for poverty reduction," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.

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