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Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid

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  • Murray Leibbrandt
  • James Levinsohn
  • Justin McCrary

Abstract

This paper examines changes in individual real incomes in South Africa between 1995 and 2000. We document substantial declines--on the order of 40%--in real incomes for both men and women. The brunt of the income decline appears to have been shouldered by the young and the non-white. We argue that changes in respondent attributes are insufficient to explain this decline. For most groups, a (conservative) correction for selection into income recipiency explains some, but not all, of the income decline. For other groups, selection is a potential explanation for the income decline. Perhaps the most persuasive explanation of the evidence is substantial economic restructuring of the South African economy in which wages are not bid up to keep pace with price changes due to a differentially slack labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Murray Leibbrandt & James Levinsohn & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Incomes in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid," NBER Working Papers 11384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11384
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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies

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