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The dynamics of inequality in a newly settled, preindustrial society: The case of the Cape Colony

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  • Johan Fourie
  • Dieter von Fintel

Abstract

Inequality is a major concern in many of the world’s developing regions. South Africa is no exception, as the voluminous literature on the subject attests to (see Bhorat and Kanbur 2006, for example). Indeed, modern South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world, primarily as a result of institutionalised inequality under colonial segregation and Apartheid, but potentially also stemming from the set of institutions created much earlier under Dutch and British colonial rule (Terreblanche 2002). This paper will investigate inequality in the early colonial period. It is apparent in the literature that inequality is severely persistent; countries that exhibit high inequality from early stages of development generally continue to do so later on, while few policy prescriptions are successful in reversing the trend, even in times of high and sustained economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Johan Fourie & Dieter von Fintel, 2009. "The dynamics of inequality in a newly settled, preindustrial society: The case of the Cape Colony," Working Papers 134, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:134
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Willem Boshoff & Johan Fourie, 2008. "Explaining ship traffic fluctuations in the early Cape settlement: 1652–1793," Working Papers 01/2008, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sophia du Plessis & Ada Jansen & Dieter von Fintel, 2014. "Slave prices and productivity at the Cape of Good Hope from 1700 to 1725: did all settler farmers profit from the trade?," Working Papers 17/2014, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics, revised 2014.
    2. Johan Fourie, 2018. "Cliometrics in South Africa," Working Papers 14/2018, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. Dieter von Fintel & Sophia Du Plessis & Ada Jansen, 2013. "The Wealth Of Cape Colony Widows: Inheritance Laws And Investment Responses Following Male Death In The 17th And 18th Centuries," Economic History of Developing Regions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 87-108, June.
    4. Jerven, Morten & Austin, Gareth & Green, Erik & Uche, Chibuike & Frankema, Ewout & Fourie, Johan & Inikori, Joseph & Moradi, Alexander & Hillbom, Ellen, 2012. "Moving Forward in African Economic History. Bridging the Gap Between Methods and Sources," Lund Papers in Economic History 124, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    5. Auke Rijpma & Jeanne Cilliers & Johan Fourie, 2020. "Record linkage in the Cape of Good Hope Panel," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(2), pages 112-129, April.
    6. Johan Fourie & Jan Luiten Zanden, 2013. "GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The National Accounts of a Slave-Based Society," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(4), pages 467-490, December.
    7. Links, Calumet & Green, Erik & Fourie, Johan, 2018. "Was Slavery a Flexible Form of Labour? Division of Labour and Location Specific Skills on the Eastern Cape Frontier," African Economic History Working Paper 42/2018, African Economic History Network.
    8. Rulof Burger & Rachel Jafta & Dieter von Fintel, 2016. "Affirmative action policies and the evolution of post-apartheid South Africa's racial wage gap," WIDER Working Paper Series 066, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Johan Fourie, 2020. "The settlers of South Africa and the expanding frontier," Working Papers 14/2020, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    10. Piraino, Patrizio & Muller, Sean & Cilliers, Jeanne & Fourie, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of longevity across generations: The case of the settler Cape Colony," SALDRU Working Papers 113, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    11. Rulof Burger & Rachel Jafta & Dieter von Fintel, 2016. "Affirmative action policies and the evolution of post-apartheid South Africa's racial wage gap," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-66, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Johan Fourie, 2011. "Slaves as capital investment in the Dutch Cape Colony, 1652-1795," Working Papers 21/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    13. Dieter von Fintel, 2018. "Long-run spatial inequality in South Africa: early settlement patterns and separate development," Working Papers 16/2018, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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