IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Employment and Earnings of South Africa's Domestic Service Workers


  • Tom Hertz

    () (American University
    American University)


Minimum wages have been in place for South Africa's one million domestic service workers since November of 2002. Using data from seven waves of the Labour Force Survey, this paper documents that the real wages, average monthly earnings, and total earnings of all employed domestic workers have risen since the regulations came into effect, while hours of work per week and employment have fallen. Each of these outcomes can be linked econometrically to the arrival of the minimum wage regulations. The overall estimated elasticities suggest that the regulations should have reduced poverty somewhat for domestic workers, although this last conclusion is the least robust.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Hertz, 2005. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Employment and Earnings of South Africa's Domestic Service Workers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 05-120, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:05-120

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: This material is copyrighted. Permission is required to reproduce any or all parts.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
    2. Janet Currie, 2004. "The Take Up of Social Benefits," NBER Working Papers 10488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Microsimulation Estimates of the Effects of Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 329-42, September.
    4. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
    5. repec:mpr:mprres:3116 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Paul Decker & Christopher J. O'Leary & Stephen A. Woodbury, 2001. "Participation in the Reemployment Bonus Experiments," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    7. Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Microsimulation Estimates of the Effects of Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(3), pages 329-342, September.
    8. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    9. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance: Evaluating the Costs and Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Pauly Mark V. & Herring Bradley & Song David, 2002. "Tax Credits, the Distribution of Subsidized Health Insurance Premiums, and the Uninsured," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-22, January.
    11. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Dahlia K. Remler & Jason E. Rachlin & Sherry A. Glied, 2001. "What can the take-up of other programs teach us about how to improve take-up of health insurance programs?," NBER Working Papers 8185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Pauw, Karl & Leibbrandt, Murray, 2012. "Minimum Wages and Household Poverty: General Equilibrium Macro–Micro Simulations for South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 771-783.
    2. repec:spr:jlabre:v:38:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12122-017-9241-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur & Natasha Mayet, 2013. "The impact of sectoral minimum wage laws on employment, wages, and hours of work in South Africa," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, December.
    4. Dinkelman, Taryn & Ranchhod, Vimal, 2012. "Evidence on the impact of minimum wage laws in an informal sector: Domestic workers in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 27-45.
    5. Alaniz, Enrique & Gindling, T.H. & Terrell, Katherine, 2011. "The impact of minimum wages on wages, work and poverty in Nicaragua," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages 45-59.
    6. Haroon Bhorat & Ravi Kanbur & Benjamin Stanwix, 2017. "Minimum Wages in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Primer," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 32(1), pages 21-74.
    7. Haroon Bhorat & Tara Caetano & Benjamin Jourdan & Ravi Kanbur & Christopher Rooney & Benjamin Stanwix & Ingrid Woolard, 2016. "Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa," Working Papers 201601, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    8. Levinsohn, James & Pugatch, Todd, 2014. "Prospective analysis of a wage subsidy for Cape Town youth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 169-183.
    9. Ronelle Burger & Marisa Coetzee & Carina van der Watt, 2013. "Estimating the benefits of linking ties in a deeply divided society: considering the relationship between domestic workers and their employers in South Africa," Working Papers 18/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    minimum; wage; south africa; hertz; earnings; hours;

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    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:upj:weupjo:05-120. 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: (). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.