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Racial Wage Discrimination in South Africa: Before and After the First Democratic Election


  • Gaute Erichsen
  • Jeremy Wakeford

    () (School of Economics, University of Cape Town)


Apartheid in South Africa was formally discarded by the first free election in 1994. Prior to 1994, discrimination in the labour market was embodied in a number of policies (pass laws, occupational colour barring etc.). While such polices have been eliminated by the ANC government, it is likely that the eradication of racial wage discrimination altogether will be a lengthy process. In this working paper, racial wage discrimination is treated via a multilateral wage decomposition technique. Each observed wage differential is broken down into a productivity component and a discrimination component so that the extent of racial wage discrimination can be estimated. Using data collected just before 1993 and just after 1995 the first democratic election, it can be concluded that previous findings of long-term declining discrimination are reversed in the post-apartheid era.

Suggested Citation

  • Gaute Erichsen & Jeremy Wakeford, 2001. "Racial Wage Discrimination in South Africa: Before and After the First Democratic Election," Working Papers 01049, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:01049

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    Cited by:

    1. Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & John Knight, 2004. "Race and the Incidence of Unemployment in South Africa," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 198-222, May.
    2. Sandrine Rospabéa, 2002. "How Did Labour Market Racial Discrimination Evolve After The End Of Apartheid?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 70(1), pages 185-217, March.

    More about this item


    South Africa: racial wage discrimination; labour market; labour market;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics


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