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Changing Patterns of South African income distribution: Towards time series estimates of distribution and poverty

Author

Listed:
  • Servaas van der Berg

    () (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

  • Megan Louw

    () (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)

Abstract

Research on income distribution in South Africa has, for obvious reasons, focused on inter-racial (inter-group) income distribution. Quite dramatic changes have occurred in inter-racial income distribution patterns since the 1970s, with the black share of income rising for the first time and at times exceeding the rise in their population share. This implies a narrowing inter-racial income gap. Data on income distribution remain scarce, so that it remains difficult to obtain the full picture about changes in income distribution. In particular, widening inequality within the black population has received much attention. Rises in black unemployment and in black wages have had inequality-inducing effects on black incomes. Is maldistribution of income between races now making way for maldistribution of income within race groups? Put differently, is inequality shifting from inter-group to intra-group inequality (from between group to within group inequality)? This paper pieces together information from various sources of data (censuses, household surveys, marketing surveys, published wage data series, etc.) to inform estimates of inter- and intra-group distribution over a longer time frame, in an effort to improve analysis of income inequality and poverty trends. These income distribution patterns also have considerable implications for the growth and evolution of the South African consumer market.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers8
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    income distribution; South Africa; time series; poverty;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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