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How better targeting of social spending affects social delivery in South Africa


  • Servaas van der Berg
  • Eldridge Moses


Social spending has become a major tool of targeting resources to South Africa's poor. The poor now get considerably more than their population share of social spending, but the underlying distribution of income is so skewed that overall post-fiscal inequality has not improved much. Concentration ratios and curves show considerable shifts in social spending incidence in the period 1995 to 2006. However, the efficiency of that spending is low, resulting in limited social outcomes and consequently also limited gains to the poor from better targeting. This paper therefore calls for the South African policy discussion to shift to why the ever-increasing fiscal inputs and improved targeting of those inputs have not produced the desired social outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Servaas van der Berg & Eldridge Moses, 2012. "How better targeting of social spending affects social delivery in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 127-139, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:1:p:127-139 DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.645647

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thurlow, James, 2006. "Has trade liberalization in South Africa affected men and women differently?:," DSGD discussion papers 36, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Murray Leibbrandt & Laura Poswell & Pranushka & Matthew Welch & Ingrid Woolard, 2004. "Measuring recent changes in South African inequality and poverty using 1996 and 2001 census data," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 084, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    3. Ardington, Cally & Lam, David & Leibbrandt, Murray & Welch, Matthew, 2006. "The sensitivity to key data imputations of recent estimates of income poverty and inequality in South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 822-835, September.
    4. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid," NBER Working Papers 11384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Servaas Van der berg & Megan Louw & Derek Yu, 2008. "Post-Transition Poverty Trends Based On An Alternative Data Source," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 76(1), pages 58-76, March.
    6. Ranjan Ray, 2000. "Poverty and expenditure pattern of households in Pakistan and South Africa: a comparative study," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 241-256.
    7. Paula Armstrong & Bongisa Lekezwa & Krige Siebrits, 2008. "Poverty in South Africa: A profile based on recent household surveys," Working Papers 04/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    8. Haroon Bhorat & Carlene van der Westhuizen & Pranushka Naidoo, 2006. "Shifts in Non-Income Welfare in South Africa: 1993-2004," Working Papers 06108, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronelle Burger & Servaas Berg & Sarel Walt & Derek Yu, 2017. "The Long Walk: Considering the Enduring Spatial and Racial Dimensions of Deprivation Two Decades After the Fall of Apartheid," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 1101-1123, February.

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