IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Efficiency and equity effects of social grants in South Africa


  • Servaas van der Berg

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Krige Siebrits

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Bongisa Lekezwa

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)


This paper discusses the nature and effects of social grants programmes in South Africa against the backdrop of international trends in the reform of social assistance systems. It shows that South Africa has a well-developed social assistance system that significantly reduces extreme poverty, in part because the grants are very well targeted. The review of existing literature and new evidence presented in this paper suggest that the grants influence the behaviour of recipients and potential recipients in various ways, not all of which are necessarily benign. The paper also highlights the scope for further research on the potential of workfare programmes, conditional cash transfer programmes and other innovative social assistance schemes in the South African context.

Suggested Citation

  • Servaas van der Berg & Krige Siebrits & Bongisa Lekezwa, 2010. "Efficiency and equity effects of social grants in South Africa," Working Papers 15/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers115

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2010
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Neubourg, Chris & Castonguay, Julie & Roelen, Keetie, 2007. "Social safety nets and targeted social assistance : lessons from the European experience," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 41529, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. von Fintel, Dieter & Pienaar, Louw, 2016. "Small-Scale Farming and Food Security: The Enabling Role of Cash Transfers in South Africa's Former Homelands," IZA Discussion Papers 10377, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. repec:ilo:ilowps:485483 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Servaas van der Berg & Krige Siebrits, 2010. "Social assistance reform during a period of fiscal stress," Working Papers 17/2010, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    4. Leubolt, Bernhard., 2014. "Social policies and redistribution in South Africa," ILO Working Papers 994854833402676, International Labour Organization.
    5. Wynand Carel Johannes Grobler & Steve Dunga, 2015. "Spending Patterns Of Food Secure And Food Insecure Households In Urban Areas: The Case Of Low Income Neighborhoods," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 1003641, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    6. d'Agostino, Giorgio & Scarlato, Margherita & Napolitano, Silvia, 2016. "Do Cash Transfers Promote Food Security? The Case of the South African Child Support Grant," MPRA Paper 69177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1433-z is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Social security; social grants; social pensions; child support grants; effects of social assistance; South Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers115. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Melt van Schoor). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.