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Describing and decomposing post-apartheid income inequality in South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Murray Leibbrandt
  • Arden Finn
  • Ingrid Woolard

Abstract

This paper describes the changes in inequality in South Africa over the post-apartheid period, using income data from 1993 and 2008. Having shown that the data are comparable over time, it then profiles aggregate changes in income inequality, showing that inequality has increased over the post-apartheid period because an increased share of income has gone to the top decile. Social grants have become much more important as sources of income in the lower deciles. However, income source decomposition shows that the labour market has been and remains the main driver of aggregate inequality. Inequality within each racial group has increased and both standard and new methodologies show that the contribution of between-race inequality has decreased. Both aggregate and within-group inequality are responding to rising unemployment and rising earnings inequality. Those who have neither access to social grants nor the education levels necessary to integrate successfully into a harsh labour market are especially vulnerable.

Suggested Citation

  • Murray Leibbrandt & Arden Finn & Ingrid Woolard, 2012. "Describing and decomposing post-apartheid income inequality in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 19-34, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:1:p:19-34
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.645639
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Essers, Dennis, 2013. "South African labour market transitions during the global financial and economic crisis: Micro-level evidence from the NIDS panel and matched QLFS cross-sections," IOB Working Papers 2013.12, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    2. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda & Miracle Ntuli, 2017. "Gender bias and the intrahousehold distribution of resources: Evidence from African nuclear households in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 071, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Morne Oosthuizen, 2013. "Inflation Inequality In South Africa," Working Papers 13158, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    4. Peter Warr & Sitthiroth Rasphone & Jayant Menon, 2015. "Two Decades of Declining Poverty Despite Rising Inequality in Laos," Departmental Working Papers 2015-13, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    5. Chijioke O. Nwosu, 2016. "The impact of health on the employment and earnings of young South Africans," Working Papers 601, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    6. repec:bla:sajeco:v:85:y:2017:i:2:p:298-318 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bigsten, Arne, 2014. "Dimensions of African inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 050, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Miracle Ntuli & Prudence Kwenda, 2013. "Labour Unions and Wage Inequality Among African Men in South Africa," Working Papers 13159, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    9. Greenstein Joshua, 2015. "New Patterns of Structural Change and Effects on Inclusive Development: A Case Study of South Africa and Brazil," WIDER Working Paper Series 006, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Janina Hundenborn & Ingrid Woolard & Murray Leibbrandt, 2016. "Drivers of Inequality in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 194, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    11. Marisa von Fintel & Asmus Zoch, 2015. "The dynamics of child poverty in South Africa between 2008 and 2012: An analysis using the National Income Dynamics Study," Working Papers 05/2015, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    12. Haroon Bhorat & Adaiah Lilenstein & Jabulile Monnakgotla & Amy Thornton, 2017. "The Socio-Economic Determinants of Crime in South Africa: An Empirical Assessment," Working Papers 201704, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    13. Channing Arndt, 2017. "New data, new approaches and new evidence: A policy synthesis," WIDER Working Paper Series 202, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. repec:spr:chinre:v:10:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s12187-016-9393-z is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1433-z is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:bla:sajeco:v:85:y:2017:i:2:p:279-297 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Zoƫ McLaren & Cally Ardington & Murray Leibbrandt, 2013. "Distance as a barrier to health care access in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 097, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    18. Carlos Gradin, 2015. "Poverty and Ethnicity among Black South Africans," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 27(5), pages 921-942, December.
    19. Bhorat, Haroon & Hirsch, Alan & Kanbur, Ravi & Ncube, Mthuli, 2014. "Economic Policy in South Africa: Past, Present, and Future," Working Papers 180150, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    20. Benjamin Roberts, 2014. "Your Place or Mine? Beliefs About Inequality and Redress Preferences in South Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(3), pages 1167-1190, September.
    21. Ronelle Burger & Marisa Coetzee & Carina van der Watt, 2013. "Estimating the benefits of linking ties in a deeply divided society: considering the relationship between domestic workers and their employers in South Africa," Working Papers 18/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    22. Arden Finn, 2015. "A National Minimum Wage in the Context of the South African Labour Market," SALDRU Working Papers 153, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

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