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

  • Facundo Alvaredo
  • Anthony B Atkinson

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..

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File URL: http://www.oxcarre.ox.ac.uk/images/stories/papers/ResearchPapers/oxcarrerp201046.pdf
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Paper provided by Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford in its series OxCarre Working Papers with number 046.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:046
Contact details of provider: Postal: Manor Road, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Web page: http://www.oxcarre.ox.ac.uk/
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  1. Servaas van der Berg & Megan Louw, 2003. "Changing Patterns of South African income distribution: Towards time series estimates of distribution and poverty," Working Papers 02/2003, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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 306-16, August.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521850919 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521616416 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898, March.
  6. 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, 09.
  7. 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.
  8. 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, December.
  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, March.
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