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South Africa's economics of education: A stocktaking and an agenda for the way forward

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  • Martin Gustafsson
  • Thabo Mabogoane

Abstract

This paper reviews some of the existing economics of education literature from the perspective of South Africa's education policymaking needs. It also puts forward a suggested research agenda for future work. The review is arranged according to five areas of research: rates of return, production functions, teacher incentives, benefit incidence analysis and cross-country comparisons. Production functions, especially if translated to cost-effectiveness models, can point to important policy solutions. Teacher incentives is a policy area that is in need of a better theoretical and empirical basis. Rates of return are difficult for policymakers to interpret, but suggest a need for a qualification below the Grade 12 level. While benefit incidence analysis can demonstrate large improvements in the equity of public financing, cross-country comparisons reveal that not only is the distribution of schooling outcomes particularly unequal, on average it is well below what the country's level of development would predict.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Gustafsson & Thabo Mabogoane, 2012. "South Africa's economics of education: A stocktaking and an agenda for the way forward," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 351-364, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:29:y:2012:i:3:p:351-364 DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2012.706033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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 & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa since the fall of Apartheid," Working Papers 536, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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., pages 241-256.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabrice Murtin & Thomas Laurent & Geoff Barnard & Dean Janse van Rensburg & Vijay Reddy & George Frempong & Lolita Winnaar, 2015. "Policy Determinants of School Outcomes under Model Uncertainty: Evidence from South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 83(3), pages 317-334, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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