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Education Quality and Labour Market Outcomes in South Africa


  • Nicola Branson

    (University of Cape Town)

  • Murray Leibbrandt

    (University of Cape Town)


In this paper we include measures of school quality in regressions determining the labour market premiums to education level. We use the matric exemption score and the pupil/teacher ratio of the respondents’ closest school during childhood as proxies for education quality. We find that the employment and earnings premiums to education level are robust to the inclusion of these quality measures. Moreover, there is a significant direct relationship between our quality measures and earnings, controlling for education level. Increasing the matric exemption score by 10 percentage points increases earnings, on average, by 8% and decreasing the pupil/teacher ratio by one learner is associated with a 1% increase in earnings. No significant relationship is found between the school quality measures and employment.This Working Paper relates to the 2013 OECD Economic Survey of South Africa, Qualité de l'éducation et rendement sur le marché du travail en Afrique du Sud Dans cette étude nous incluons des variables de qualité de l’éducation dans les régressions déterminant le rendement sur le marché du travail des niveaux d’éducation atteints. En guise de mesure de la qualité, nous utilisons le taux de réussite au diplôme final d’études secondaires ainsi que le ratio élève/enseignant de l’école la plus proche du lieu de résidence de l’individu sondé durant sa jeunesse. Nous trouvons que les effets des niveaux éducatifs sur les salaires et les probabilités d’avoir un emploi sont robustes à l’inclusion de ces variables de qualité de l’éducation. De plus, il y a une relation directe significative entre nos variables de qualité et les salaires après contrôle pour le niveau éducatif atteint. Augmenter le taux de réussite de l’école de 10 points de pourcentage augmente les salaires d’en moyenne 8%, tandis que diminuer le ratio élève-enseignant d’un élève augmente les salaires de 1%. Aucune relation robuste n’est exhibée entre les mesures de qualité de l’éducation et l’emploi. Ce Document de travail se rapporte à l’Étude économique de l’OCDE de l’Afrique du Sud,

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Branson & Murray Leibbrandt, 2013. "Education Quality and Labour Market Outcomes in South Africa," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1021, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1021-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandra Doyle & Amos C Peters & Asha Sundaram, 2014. "Skills mismatch and informal sector participation among educated immigrants: Evidence from South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 137, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    2. 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.
    3. Finn, Arden & Leibbrandt, Murray & Oosthuizen, Morne, 2014. "Poverty, inequality, and prices in post-apartheid South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 127, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item


    Afrique du Sud; earnings; education; education quality; emploi; employment; qualité de l'éducation; salaires; South Africa; éducation;

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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