Language and Labour in South Africa: A new approach for a new South Africa
This paper considers the role of language in labour earnings in South Africa over the period 1996 to 1998. Our pooled cross-section comprises of over 160,000 working age adults, and the analysis considers the decision to participate in the labour force, employment prospects and labour earnings. Models include variables for individual mother tongue in addition to population group. After conditioning on a number of socio-economic and demographic factors, we find that having English as one's mother tongue is one of the pivotal determinants of labour earnings. These results are robust across two models of sample selection. Such findings shed light on the economic consequences of South Africa's national policy of linguistic heterogeneity.
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