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Convergence Of A Kind: Educational Attainment And Intergenerational Social Mobility In South Africa

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  • Megan Louw
  • Servaas Van der berg
  • Derek Yu

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 a more formal evaluation of intergenerational social mobility using indices constructed by Dahan and Gaviria, and Behrman "et al". 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, at least up to lower secondary school level. However, the greater distance to go in achieving educational convergence between race groups at higher education levels reflect a major deficit: Educational "quality" differentials are still large and reflected in big differences in matriculation rates and tertiary qualifications by race. Copyright (c) 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation (c) 2007 Economic Society of South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Megan Louw & Servaas Van der berg & Derek Yu, 2007. "Convergence Of A Kind: Educational Attainment And Intergenerational Social Mobility In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(3), pages 548-571, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:75:y:2007:i:3:p:548-571
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Filmer, Deon*Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
    2. Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman & Miguel Székely, 1998. "Intergenerational Schooling Mobility and Macro Conditions and Schooling Policies in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4144, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Megan Louw & Servaas van der Berg & Derek Yu, 2006. "Educational attainment and intergenerational social mobility in South Africa," Working Papers 09/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "The effect of household wealth on educational attainment : demographic and health survey evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1980, The World Bank.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Bossuroy & Denis Cogneau, 2013. "Social Mobility in Five African Countries," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59, pages 84-110, October.
    2. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix P. & van Leeuwen, Marco H.D. & Weisdorf, Jacob L., 2015. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Ugandan Marriage Registers 1895-2011," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 239, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. 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, vol. 59, pages 111-137, October.
    4. Binzel, Christine & Carvalho, Jean-Paul, 2013. "Education, Social Mobility and Religious Movements: A Theory of the Islamic Revival in Egypt," IZA Discussion Papers 7259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Ng, Irene Y.H. & Shen, Xiaoyi & Ho, Kong Weng, 2009. "Intergenerational earnings mobility in Singapore and the United States," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 110-119, March.
    6. Arden Finn & Murray Leibbrandt & Vimal Ranchhod, 2016. "Patterns of persistence: Intergenerational mobility and education in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 175, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    7. Fabrice Murtin & Thomas Laurent & Geoff Barnard & Dean Janse van Rensburg & Vijay Reddy & George Frempong & Lolita Winnaar, 2015. "Policy Determinants of School Outcomes under Model Uncertainty: Evidence from South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 83(3), pages 317-334, September.
    8. Hendrik van Broekhuizen & Dieter von Fintel, 2010. "Who Responds to Voluntary Cognitive Tests in Household Surveys? The Role of Labour Market Status, Respondent Confidence, Motivation and a Culture of Learning in South Africa," Working Papers 27/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    9. Meier zu Selhausen, Felix & van Leeuwen, Marco & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2017. "Social Mobility among Christian Africans: Evidence from Anglican Marriage Registers in Uganda, 1895-2011," CEPR Discussion Papers 11767, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie, 2011. "The South African unemployment debate: three worlds, three discourses?," SALDRU Working Papers 63, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

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