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The Dynamics of Child Poverty in South Africa Between 2008 and 2012

Author

Listed:
  • Marisa Fintel

    () (Stellenbosch University)

  • Asmus Zoch

    (Stellenbosch University)

  • Servaas Berg

    (Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

Children have been shown to be one of the most economically vulnerable groups within the South African context. We examine and decompose the dynamics of child poverty in South Africa over the period 2008–2012 in order to arrive at a better understanding of the nature and causes of child poverty, and specifically persistent poverty over time. We use the framework of an asset poverty line first developed by Carter and May (World Development, 29(12), 1987–2006, 2001) and longitudinal data from the National Income Dynamics Study in order to identify those children in households that are in structural poverty with an asset base which is too low to escape poverty in the long run. We find that almost 40 % of the children in our sample found themselves in this structural poverty trap between 2008 and 2012. As expected, these children have suffered as a result of this deprivation, even in comparison to their peers who have also been poor over the period, but were living in households with access to more assets. We conduct some preliminary investigations into the potential causes of welfare changes over time. In line with previous work on the topic, we identify low initial levels of education, low asset-holdings, low initial employment and adverse household formation as possible causes of these poverty traps.

Suggested Citation

  • Marisa Fintel & Asmus Zoch & Servaas Berg, 2017. "The Dynamics of Child Poverty in South Africa Between 2008 and 2012," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 10(4), pages 945-969, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:chinre:v:10:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s12187-016-9393-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s12187-016-9393-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ingrid Woolard & Stephan Klasen, 2005. "Determinants of Income Mobility and Household Poverty Dynamics in South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 865-897.
    2. Nicola Branson & Clare Hofmeyr & David Lam, 2014. "Progress through school and the determinants of school dropout in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(1), pages 106-126, January.
    3. Jorge Agüero & Michael R. Carter & Julian May, 2007. "Poverty and Inequality in the First Decade of South Africa's Democracy: What can be Learnt from Panel Data from KwaZulu-Natal?," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 782-812, November.
    4. Judith Streak & Derek Yu & Servaas Van der Berg, 2009. "Measuring Child Poverty in South Africa: Sensitivity to the Choice of Equivalence Scale and an Updated Profile," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 183-201, November.
    5. Rulof P. Burger & Francis J. Teal, 2015. "The Effect of Schooling on Worker Productivity: Evidence from a South African Industry Panel," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 24(5), pages 629-644.
    6. Michelle Adato & Michael Carter & Julian May, 2006. "Exploring poverty traps and social exclusion in South Africa using qualitative and quantitative data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 226-247.
    7. Julian May, 2012. "Smoke and mirrors? The science of poverty measurement and its application," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 63-75, March.
    8. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 446-493.
    9. Posel, Dorrit & Rogan, Michael, 2014. "Measured as poor versus feeling poor: Comparing objective and subjective poverty rates in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 133, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
    11. Carter, Michael R. & May, Julian, 2001. "One Kind of Freedom: Poverty Dynamics in Post-apartheid South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(12), pages 1987-2006, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kehinde O. Omotoso & Steven F. Koch, 2017. "Exploring Child Poverty and Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Multidimensional Perspective," Working Papers 201718, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.

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