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Race, poverty, and deprivation in South Africa

  • Carlos Gradín


    (Universidade de Vigo)

The aim of this paper is to explain why poverty and material deprivation in South Africa are significantly higher among those of African descent than among whites. To do so, we estimate the conditional levels of poverty and deprivation Africans would experience had they the same characteristics as whites. By comparing the actual and counterfactual distributions, we show that the racial gap in poverty and deprivation can be attributed to the cumulative disadvantaged characteristics of Africans, such as their current level of educational attainment, demographic structure, and area of residence, as well as to the inertia of past racial inequalities. Progress made in the educational and labor market outcomes of Africans after Apartheid explains the reduction in the racial poverty differential.

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Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 224.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2011-224
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  1. Servaas Van Der Berg & Megan Louw, 2004. "Changing Patterns Of South African Income Distribution: Towards Time Series Estimates Of Distribution And Poverty," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 546-572, 09.
  2. 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, 03.
  3. repec:adr:anecst:y:2011:i:101-102:p:02 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2004. "Modelling low income transitions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(5), pages 593-610.
  5. Chantreuil, F. & Trannoy, A., 1999. "Inequality Decomposition Values: the Trade-Off Between Marginality and Consistency," Papers 99-24, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  6. Charles Meth, 2006. "What was the poverty headcount in 2004 and how does it compare to recent estimates by van der Berg et al?," SALDRU Working Papers 1, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  7. Murray Leibbrandt & Ingrid Woolard & Arden Finn & Jonathan Argent, 2010. "Trends in South African Income Distribution and Poverty since the Fall of Apartheid," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 101, OECD Publishing.
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