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The Long-Run Effects of South Africa’s Forced Resettlements on Employment Outcomes


  • Alexia Lochmann

    (Center for International Development at Harvard University)

  • Nidhi Rao
  • Martin A. Rossi


Can South Africa’s segregation policies explain, at least partially, its current poor employment outcomes? To explore this question, we study the long-term impact of the forced resettlement of around 3.5 million black South Africans from their communities to the so-called “homelands” or “Bantustans”, between 1960 and 1991. Our empirical strategy exploits the variability in the magnitude of resettlements between communities. Two main findings. First, the magnitude of outgoing internal migrations was largest for districts close to former homelands. Second, districts close to former homelands have higher rates of non-employed population in 2011. Together the evidence suggests that districts that experienced racial segregation policies most intensely, as measured by outgoing forced resettlements, have worse current employment outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexia Lochmann & Nidhi Rao & Martin A. Rossi, 2023. "The Long-Run Effects of South Africa’s Forced Resettlements on Employment Outcomes," CID Working Papers 141a, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:141a

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Sebastian Galiani & Jim Levinsohn & Zoë McLaren & Ingrid Woolard, 2008. "Why has unemployment risen in the New South Africa?1," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(4), pages 715-740, October.
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    6. Ariel Burstein & Gordon Hanson & Lin Tian & Jonathan Vogel, 2020. "Tradability and the Labor‐Market Impact of Immigration: Theory and Evidence From the United States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(3), pages 1071-1112, May.
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    9. Abel, Martin, 2019. "Long-Run Effects of Forced Resettlement: Evidence from Apartheid South Africa," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 915-953, December.
    10. L. Pienaar & D. von Fintel, 2014. "Hunger in the former apartheid homelands: Determinants of convergence one century after the 1913 land act," Agrekon, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(4), pages 38-67, November.
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    More about this item


    Homelands; Employment; Apartheid; Segregation policies;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania

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