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Educational attainment and intergenerational social mobility in South Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Megan Louw

    () (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Servaas van der Berg

    () (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Derek Yu

    () (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

To a large degree, the notoriously high levels of income inequality in South Africa have their roots in differential access to wage-earning opportunities in the labour market, which in turn are influenced by family background. This paper therefore investigates the role that parents’ education plays in children’s human capital accumulation. The study analyses patterns of educational attainment in South Africa during the period 1970-2001, asking whether intergenerational social mobility has improved. It tackles the issue in two ways, combining extensive descriptive analysis of progress in educational attainment with more a formal evaluation of intergenerational social mobility using indices constructed by Dahan and Gaviria (2001) and Behrman, Birdsall and Szekely (1998). Both types of analysis indicate that intergenerational social mobility within race groups improved over the period, with the indices suggesting that South African children are currently better able to take advantage of educational opportunities than the bulk of their peers in comparable countries. However, significant racial barriers remain in the quest to equalise educational opportunities across the board for South African children.

Suggested Citation

  • Megan Louw & Servaas van der Berg & Derek Yu, 2006. "Educational attainment and intergenerational social mobility in South Africa," Working Papers 09/2006, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers23
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2006/wp092006/wp-09-2006.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
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    3. Haroon Bhorat, 2004. "Labour Market Challenges In The Post-Apartheid South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(5), pages 940-977, December.
    4. Fran??ois Bourguignon & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Marta Men??ndez, 2003. "Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in Brazil," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-630, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    5. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1999. "School Inputs and Educational Outcomes in South Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1047-1084.
    6. Case, Anne & Deaton, Angus, 1998. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1330-1361, September.
    7. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2002. "Does Increasing Women's Schooling Raise the Schooling of the Next Generation?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 323-334, March.
    8. Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman & Miguel Székely, 1998. "Intergenerational Schooling Mobility and Macro Conditions and Schooling Policies in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4144, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. Ricardo Hausmann & Miguel Székely, 1999. "Inequality and the Family in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4158, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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    11. Jere R. Behrman & Alejandro Gaviria & Miguel Székely, 2001. "Intergenerational Mobility in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2001), pages 1-44, August.
    12. Eric V. Edmonds, 2004. "Does Illiquidity Alter Child Labor and Schooling Decisions? Evidence from Household Responses to Anticipated Cash Transfers in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 10265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ranjan Ray, 2000. "Poverty and expenditure pattern of households in Pakistan and South Africa: a comparative study," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 241-256.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Majumder, Rajarshi, 2010. "Intergenerational mobility in educational & occupational attainment: a comparative study of social classes in India," MPRA Paper 40939, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Siv Gustafsson & Adriaan Kalwij & Seble Worku, 2009. "Educational Attainment Differences Between Population Groups In South Africa And The Timing And Number Of Births," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 77(4), pages 471-487, December.
    3. Binzel, Christine, 2011. "Decline in Social Mobility: Unfulfilled Aspirations among Egypt's Educated Youth," IZA Discussion Papers 6139, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Ng, Irene Y.H. & Shen, Xiaoyi & Ho, Kong Weng, 2009. "Intergenerational earnings mobility in Singapore and the United States," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 110-119, March.
    5. Malcolm Keswell & Sarah Girdwood & Murray Leibbrandt, 2013. "Educational Inheritance and the Distribution of Occupations: Evidence from South Africa," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59, pages 111-137, October.
    6. Megan Louw & Servaas Van der berg & Derek Yu, 2007. "Convergence Of A Kind: Educational Attainment And Intergenerational Social Mobility In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(3), pages 548-571, September.
    7. Magejo, Prudence & Benhura, Miracle & Gwatidzo, Tendai, 2014. "Trends in the Intergenerational Transmission of Education among Black South Africans," IZA Discussion Papers 8546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Dave Liu, 2007. "Growth Theory and Application: The Case of South Africa," Working Papers 200714, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    9. Frederick C.v.N. Fourie, 2011. "The South African unemployment debate: three worlds, three discourses?," SALDRU Working Papers 63, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    10. Anna Christina D'Addio, 2007. "Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Mobility or Immobility Across Generations?," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 52, OECD Publishing.
    11. Servaas van der Berg & Megan Louw, 2007. "Lessons learnt from SACMEQII: South African student performance in regional context," Working Papers 16/2007, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Analysis of education; intergenerational mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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