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A National Minimum Wage in the Context of the South African Labour Market

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  • Arden Finn

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

Abstract

Understanding the composition and wage structure of the South African labour market is crucial in the progressing national minimum wage debate in the country. This study highlights the centrality of wages in household income, and in determining inequality and poverty levels in the county. It then charts key trends in the labour market, before presenting a snapshot of the composition and earnings of the workforce in the current environment. A definition for a "working-poor" threshold is developed in the paper by linking individual earnings to household poverty. Finally, we consider the differential coverage that a national minimum wage would have on different sectors and demographic groups in the economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Arden Finn, 2015. "A National Minimum Wage in the Context of the South African Labour Market," SALDRU Working Papers 153, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:153
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Josh Budlender & Murray Leibbrandt & Ingrid Woolard, 2015. "South African poverty lines: a review and two new money-metric thresholds," SALDRU Working Papers 151, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    2. Pauw, Karl & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2012. "Minimum Wages and Household Poverty: General Equilibrium Macro–Micro Simulations for South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 771-783.
    3. Rulof Burger & Derek Yu, 2007. "Wage Trends in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Constructing an Earnings Series from Household Survey Data," Working Papers 07117, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    4. Rulof Burger & Derek Yu, 2006. "Wage trends in post-apartheid South Africa: Constructing an earnings series from household survey data," Working Papers 10/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    5. Servaas van der Berg & Ronelle Burger & Rulof Burger & Megan Louw & Derek Yu, 2007. "A series of national accounts-consistent estimates of poverty and inequality in South Africa," Working Papers 09/2007, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. Murray Leibbrandt & Arden Finn & Ingrid Woolard, 2012. "Describing and decomposing post-apartheid income inequality in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 19-34, March.
    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.
    8. Lerman, Robert I & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1985. "Income Inequality Effects by Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 151-156, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tiaan MEIRING & Catherine KANNEMEYER & Elnari POTGIETER, 2018. "The Gap Between Rich and Poor: South African Society’s Biggest Divide Depends on Where You Think You Fit In," Working Paper ffd19ae8-4b12-4b82-b218-8, Agence française de développement.
    2. Lekunze, Joseph Nembo & Luvhengo, Usapfa & Shoko, Rangarirai Roy, 2016. "Structural Analysis Of Minimum Wage Rates, Unemployment And Food Prices Of Farm Workers In South Africa: Co-Integration Approach," Journal of Agribusiness and Rural Development, University of Life Sciences, Poznan, Poland, vol. 2016(42).
    3. Martin Wittenberg, 2017. "Measurement of earnings: Comparing South African tax and survey data," SALDRU Working Papers 212, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    4. Arden Finn & Murray Leibbrandt & Vimal Ranchhod, 2016. "Patterns of persistence: Intergenerational mobility and education in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 175, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    5. Serena Merrino, 2021. "Wage inequality under inflationtargeting in South Africa," Working Papers 11018, South African Reserve Bank.
    6. Zizzamia, Rocco, 2020. "Is employment a panacea for poverty? A mixed-methods investigation of employment decisions in South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).

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