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Not Separate, Not Equal: Poverty and Inequality in Post-apartheid South Africa

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  • Ozler, Berk

Abstract

I examine the changes in poverty and inequality in South Africa during the first 5 years following the end of the apartheid era. First, I construct new, comparable consumption aggregates for 1995 and 2000. Second, using the "cost-of basic-needs" approach, I derive lower-bound (R322, in South African rands) and upper-bound (R593) poverty lines (per capita per month in 2000 prices, adjusted for provincial cost of living differences) for South Africa. I find that real per capita household expenditures declined at the bottom end of the expenditure distribution during this period of low gross domestic product growth. The squared poverty gap significantly increased for most of the relevant range of poverty lines, while the headcount index remained unchanged. Inequality among the African population increased significantly. Even among subgroups of the population that experienced healthy consumption growth, such as coloureds or the Western Cape Province, the rate of poverty reduction was low because the distributional shifts were not pro-poor. I conclude that South Africa needs to grow in a way that also improves the distribution of incomes if it is to make significant progress against poverty in the short to medium run.

Suggested Citation

  • Ozler, Berk, 2007. "Not Separate, Not Equal: Poverty and Inequality in Post-apartheid South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(3), pages 487-529, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:y:2007:v:55:i:3:p:487-529
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    Cited by:

    1. Tregenna, F., 2009. "The Relationship Between Unemployment and Earnings Inequality in South Africa," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0907, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Fiona Tregenna, 2012. "What are the distributional implications of halving poverty in South Africa when growth alone is not enough?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(20), pages 2577-2596, July.
    3. Nicola Branson, 2009. "Re-weighting the OHS and LFS National household Survey Data to create a consistent series over time: A Cross Entropy Estimation Approach," SALDRU Working Papers 38, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    4. Bourguignon, Francois & Levin, Victoria & Rosenblatt, David, 2006. "Global redistribution of income," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3961, The World Bank.
    5. Dorrit Posel & Michael Rogan, 2016. "Measured as Poor versus Feeling Poor: Comparing Money-metric and Subjective Poverty Rates in South Africa," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 55-73, February.
    6. Hassine, Nadia Belhaj, 2015. "Economic Inequality in the Arab Region," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 532-556.
    7. repec:ldr:wpaper:92 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Oyvat, Cem, 2016. "Agrarian Structures, Urbanization, and Inequality," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 207-230.
    9. Sheona Shackleton & Marty Luckert, 2015. "Changing Livelihoods and Landscapes in the Rural Eastern Cape, South Africa: Past Influences and Future Trajectories," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-30, November.
    10. Lucia Knight & Pranitha Maharaj, 2009. "Use of public and private health services in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 17-28.
    11. Kalie Pauw & Scott Mcdonald & Cecilia Punt, 2007. "Agricultural efficiency and welfare in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 309-333.
    12. Thurlow, James, 2006. "Has trade liberalization in South Africa affected men and women differently?:," DSGD discussion papers 36, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    13. repec:bla:devpol:v:35:y:2017:i::p:o246-o269 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn, 2014. "Fifteen Years On: Household Incomes in South Africa," NBER Chapters,in: African Successes, Volume I: Government and Institutions, pages 333-355 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Atika Pasha, 2016. "Impact of Cash Grants on Multidimensional Poverty in South Africa," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 208, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    16. Julian May & Charles Meth, 2007. "Dualism or underdevelopment in South Africa: what does a quantitative assessment of poverty, inequality and employment reveal?," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 271-287.
    17. Kaus, Wolfhard, 2013. "Conspicuous consumption and “race”: Evidence from South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 63-73.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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