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The productivity-wage relationship in South Africa: an empirical investigation

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  • Jeremy Wakeford
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    This article investigates the relationship between labour productivity, average real wages and the unemployment rate in South Africa at the macroeconomic level, using time-series econometric techniques. There is strong evidence of a structural break in 1990, after which time all three variables rose rapidly. The break appears to have negatively affected the level of employment in the first instance, and subsequently fed through into per worker wages and productivity. A long-term equilibrium (cointegrating) relationship was found between real wages and productivity, but unemployment was apparently unconnected to the system, which lends support to the insider-outsider theory. A long-term wage-productivity elasticity of 0,58 indicates that productivity has grown more rapidly than wages, which is consistent with the finding that labour's share of gross output has been shrinking over the past decade. These trends may be explained plausibly by the adoption of job-shedding technology and capital intensification.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Development Southern Africa.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 109-132

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:21:y:2004:i:1:p:109-132
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835042000181444
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