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The rationale for an employment guarantee in South Africa


  • Kate Philip


This article considers what would happen if unemployed people in South Africa had a right to a minimum level of regular work on decent terms. It looks at the example of India, where a law was passed in 2005 guaranteeing rural households up to 100 days of work a year at minimum wage rates. More than 55 million households now participate in this programme -- a rare example of a policy innovation bringing about significant change in a society. India's employment guarantee has important implications for social and economic policy and gives new meaning to the concept of ‘a right to work’. The article explores how structural inequality limits South Africa's development options, and considers early lessons from South Africa's Community Work Programme to make the case for an employment guarantee in South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Kate Philip, 2012. "The rationale for an employment guarantee in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 177-190, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:1:p:177-190 DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.645650

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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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