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Black living standards in South Africa before democracy: New evidence from heights

Author

Listed:
  • Bokang Mpeta
  • Johan Fourie
  • Kris Inwood

Abstract

Very little income or wage data was systematically recorded on the living standards of South Africa’s black majority during much of the twentieth century. Between 1911 and 1996, for example, only fragmentary evidence of black living standards remain in mining reports and manufacturing censuses, often at a too generalised level or of too short time-span to render any meaningful unbiased, long-run interpretations of living standards. This paper uses three new datasets to document, for the first time, the stature of black South Africans over the course of the twentieth century. The data allow us to disaggregate by ethnicity within the black population group, revealing levels of inequality within race group that has been neglected in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Bokang Mpeta & Johan Fourie & Kris Inwood, 2017. "Black living standards in South Africa before democracy: New evidence from heights," Working Papers 670, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:670
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Moradi, Alexander & Baten, Joerg, 2005. "Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Data and New Insights from Anthropometric Estimates," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1233-1265, August.
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    4. Johan Fourie & Dieter von Fintel, 2010. "A History With Evidence: Income inequality in the Dutch Cape Colony," Working Papers 184, Economic Research Southern Africa.
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    10. Akachi, Yoko & Canning, David, 2015. "Inferring the economic standard of living and health from cohort height: Evidence from modern populations in developing countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 114-128.
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    13. Steckel, Richard H., 2009. "Heights and human welfare: Recent developments and new directions," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-23, January.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Black Living Standards in South Africa before Democracy
      by Gregori GV in NEP-HIS blog on 2018-02-01 20:52:01

    More about this item

    Keywords

    apartheid; living standards; South Africa; heights; anthropometric; twentieth century;

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania

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