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Public sector wages and employment in South Africa


  • Andrew Kerr

    (DataFirst, University of Cape Town)

  • Martin Wittenberg

    (DataFirst, University of Cape Town)


This paper examines the wage structure and size of the public sector over the post-apartheid period. It does so both descriptively, examining the mean and median earnings in the public sector in the post-Apartheid period and the estimates of total public sector employment and wage bill using household survey data from the post-Apartheid Labour Market Series (PALMS). Trends in earnings and employment from the household survey data are also compared with the macro aggregates published by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The earnings premium for public sector workers is estimated using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Mincerian wage regressions and quantile regression techniques. This paper also investigates the effects of earnings imputation in the Quarterly Labour Force surveys on the estimates of the public sector earnings premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Kerr & Martin Wittenberg, 2017. "Public sector wages and employment in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 214, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:214

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    Cited by:

    1. Haroon Bhorat & Safia Khan, 2018. "Structural Change and Patterns of Inequality in the South African Labour Market," Working Papers 201801, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.

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    public sector; wages; South Africa; employment; post-apartheid labour market series;

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