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Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa 1903-2005

Author

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  • Facundo Alvaredo
  • Anthony B Atkinson

Abstract

There have been important studies of overall income inequality and of poverty in South Africa. In this paper, we approach the subject from a different direction: the extent and evolution of top incomes. We present estimates of the shares in total income of groups such as the top 1 per cent and the top 0.1 per cent, covering, with gaps, more than a hundred years. In order to explain the observed dynamics, here we consider —in a preliminary way— three factors: the transfer of political authority, racial discrimination, and the rich mineral resources. The estimates of top income shares for recent years bear out the picture of South Africa as a highly unequal country..

Suggested Citation

  • Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B Atkinson, 2010. "Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa 1903-2005," OxCarre Working Papers 046, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:046
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    File URL: http://www.oxcarre.ox.ac.uk/images/stories/papers/ResearchPapers/oxcarrerp201046.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1, January.
    2. Feinstein,Charles H., 2005. "An Economic History of South Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521616416, March.
    3. Gastwirth, Joseph L, 1972. "The Estimation of the Lorenz Curve and Gini Index," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(3), pages 306-316, August.
    4. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
    5. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898.
    6. Feinstein,Charles H., 2005. "An Economic History of South Africa," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521850919, March.
    7. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2007. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(262), pages 247-261, September.
    8. Servaas Van Der Berg & Megan Louw, 2004. "Changing Patterns Of South African Income Distribution: Towards Time Series Estimates Of Distribution And Poverty," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 546-572, September.
    9. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
    2. Lindert, Peter H. & Nafziger, Steven, 2014. "Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(03), pages 767-798, September.
    3. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2012. "Output Per Head In Pre-Independence Africa: Quantitative Conjectures," Economic History of Developing Regions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(2), pages 1-36, December.
    4. Tracy Dennison & Steven Nafziger, 2011. "Micro-Perspectives on Living Standards in Nineteenth-Century Russia," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-07, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    5. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2015. "World Human Development: 1870–2007," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 220-247, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural Resources; Colonial Rule; Apartheid; South Africa; top incomes.;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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