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Credit constraints and the racial gap in post-secondary education in South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Lam, David

    () (University of Michigan)

  • Ardington, Cally

    () (SALDRU, School of Economics, University of Cape TownAuthor-Email:)

  • Branson, Nicola

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

  • Leibbrandt, Murray

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

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of high school household income and scholastic ability on post-secondary enrollment in South Africa. Using longitudinal data from the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS), we analyze the large racial gaps in the proportion of high school graduates who enroll in university and other forms of post-secondary education. Although there are enormous income differences between blacks and whites, and a strong relationship between income and post-secondary enrollment, we find that credit constraints are only a small contributor to the large racial gap in enrollment. Controlling for parental education and baseline scholastic ability (measured by a literacy and numeracy exam and performance on the grade 12 matriculation exam) reduces the estimated impact of household income on university enrollment, though there continues to be an effect at the top of the income distribution. We also find evidence of credit constraints on non-university forms of post-secondary enrollment. Counterfactual estimates indicate that if all South Africans had the incomes of the richest whites, African university enrollment would increase by 65%, even without changing parental education or high school academic achievement. The racial gap in university enrollment would narrow only slightly, however, as our results suggest that this gap in postsecondary enrollment results mainly from the large racial gap in high school academic achievement.

Suggested Citation

  • Lam, David & Ardington, Cally & Branson, Nicola & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2013. "Credit constraints and the racial gap in post-secondary education in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 111, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:111
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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. Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2011. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2487-2529, October.
    3. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
    4. Servaas van der Berg, 2007. "Apartheid's Enduring Legacy: Inequalities in Education-super- 1," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(5), pages 849-880, November.
    5. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2005. "Race, equity, and public schools in post-Apartheid South Africa: Equal opportunity for all kids," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 213-233, April.
    6. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs and Educational Outcomes in South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084.
    7. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2011. "The Effect of Liquid Housing Wealth on College Enrollment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 741-771.
    8. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 37-89.
    9. 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.
    10. Marc Gurgand & Adrien Lorenceau & Thomas Mélonio, 2011. "Student loans: Liquidity constraint and higher education in South Africa," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590898, HAL.
    11. Haroon Bhorat & Morne Oosthuizen, 2009. "Determinants of Grade 12 Pass Rates in the Post-Apartheid South African Schooling System," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 18(4), pages 634-666, August.
    12. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
    13. Nicholas Spaull, 2012. "Poverty & Privilege: Primary School Inequality in South Africa," Working Papers 13/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    14. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pugatch, Todd, 2012. "Bumpy Rides: School to Work Transitions in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 6305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Kezia Lilenstein & Ingrid Woolard & Murray Leibbrandt, 2016. "In-Work Poverty in South Africa: The Impact of Income Sharing in the Presence of High Unemployment," SALDRU Working Papers 193, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    3. David Lam, 2011. "How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons From 50 Years of Extraordinary Demographic History," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(4), pages 1231-1262, November.
    4. Nicola Branson & Amy Kahn, 2016. "The Post Matriculation Enrolment Decision: Do Public Colleges Provide Students with a Viable Alternative? Evidence from the First Four Waves of the National Income Dynamics Study," SALDRU Working Papers 182, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    5. Asmus Zoch, 2013. "Life chances and class: Estimating inequality of opportunity in South Africa for various life stages," Working Papers 08/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    credit constraints; racial gap; education; South Africa; Cape Area Panel Study; CAPS;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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