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Progress through school and the determinants of school dropout in South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Nicola Branson

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

  • Clare Hofmeyr

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

  • David Lam

    () (University of Michigan)

Abstract

The release of the National Income Dynamics Study Wave 2 provides the first nationally representative longitudinal data collected in South Africa. This makes it possible to study transitions in and out of school, across grades and into work in ways not previously possible. We illustrate the high levels of grade repetition evident in South African schools and show how school completion presents a significant hurdle with very few youth successfully completing matric. Exit from school does not offer any advantages as most youth find themselves idle once they have left school. Our regression analysis investigates correlates of school dropout and shows that not keeping pace is a key determinant of school dropout, even after controlling for school quality and socioeconomic status. Those behind but attending higher quality schools are partially protected from dropping out. Some evidence that credit constraints may be related to dropout is found, especially among males.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Branson & Clare Hofmeyr & David Lam, 2013. "Progress through school and the determinants of school dropout in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 100, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:100
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lam, David & Ardington, Cally & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2011. "Schooling as a lottery: Racial differences in school advancement in urban South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 121-136, July.
    2. Vimal Ranchhod & David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt & Leticia Marteleto, 2011. "Estimating the effect of adolescent fertility on educational attainment in Cape Town using a propensity score weighted regression," SALDRU Working Papers 59, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    3. Nicholas Spaull, 2012. "Poverty & Privilege: Primary School Inequality in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    4. Martin Gustafsson, 2011. "The when and how of leaving school: The policy implications of new evidence on secondary schooling in South Africa," Working Papers 09/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    5. Nicola Branson & David Lam & Linda Zuze, 2012. "Education: Analysis of the NIDS Wave 1 and 2 Datasets," SALDRU Working Papers 81, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    6. Malcolm Keswell & Laura Poswell, 2004. "Returns To Education In South Africa: A Retrospective Sensitivity Analysis Of The Available Evidence," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(4), pages 834-860, September.
    7. Nicola Branson & Julia Garlick & David Lam & Murray Leibbrandt, 2012. "Education and Inequality: The South African Case," SALDRU Working Papers 75, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    8. Thomas Hertz, 2003. "Upward Bias in the Estimated Returns to Education: Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1354-1368, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. De Wet, Nicole, 2019. "The association between mother's socioeconomic status and non-orphan kinship care arrangements in South Africa," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 79-86.
    2. De Neve, Jan-Walter & Harling, Guy, 2017. "Offspring schooling associated with increased parental survival in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 149-157.
    3. Zuilkowski, Stephanie Simmons & Jukes, Matthew C.H. & Dubeck, Margaret M., 2016. "“I failed, no matter how hard I tried”: A mixed-methods study of the role of achievement in primary school dropout in rural Kenya," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 100-107.
    4. Annah Vimbai Bengesai & Nompumelelo Nzimande, 2020. "The Association between Family Structure Changes and High School Completion in South Africa," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-15, July.
    5. Marisa Fintel & Asmus Zoch & Servaas Berg, 2017. "The Dynamics of Child Poverty in South Africa Between 2008 and 2012," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 10(4), pages 945-969, December.
    6. Sunny, Bindu S. & Elze, Markus & Chihana, Menard & Gondwe, Levie & Crampin, Amelia C. & Munkhondya, Masoyaona & Kondowe, Scotch & Glynn, Judith R., 2017. "Failing to progress or progressing to fail? Age-for-grade heterogeneity and grade repetition in primary schools in Karonga district, northern Malawi," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 68-80.
    7. Asmus Zoch, 2017. "The effect of neighbourhoods and school quality on education and labour market outcomes in South Africa," Working Papers 08/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    8. Durevall, Dick & Lindskog, Annika & George, Gavin, 2015. "Education and HIV incidence among young women: causation or selection?," Working Papers in Economics 638, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    9. Hendrik van Broekhuizen & Nic Spaull, 2017. "The ‘Martha Effect’: The compounding female advantage in South African higher education," Working Papers 14/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    10. Neryvia Pillay Bell, 2020. "The impacts of unconditional cash transfers on schooling in adolescence and young adulthood- Evidence from South Africa," Working Papers 10023, South African Reserve Bank.
    11. T Ncanywa, 2016. "The Dinaledi Intervention Program," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 8(4), pages 144-155.
    12. Haroon Bhorat & Karmen Naidoo & Morné Oosthuizen & Kavisha Pillay, 2015. "Demographic, employment, and wage trends in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 141, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. Kakal, T., 2015. "A tale of two sisters : Investigating the socio-economic outcomes of teen childbearing in South Africa," ISS Working Papers - General Series 604, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    14. Servaas van der Berg & Gabrielle Wills & Rebecca Selkirk & Charles Adams & Chris van Wyk, 2019. "The cost of repetition in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2019, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    15. Jessica Standish-White & Arden Finn, 2015. "Unconditional cash transfers and children's educational outcomes: Evidence from the old-age pension programme in South Africa ," SALDRU Working Papers 147, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    16. Nicola Branson & David Lam, 2017. "The impact of the no-fee school policy on enrolment and school performance: Evidence from NIDS Waves 1-3," SALDRU Working Papers 197, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education; dropout; school completion; credit constraints in educational attainment;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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