NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Fifteen Years On: Household Incomes in South Africa

Murray Leibbrandt, James Levinsohn

Chapter in NBER book African Successes, Volume I: Government and Institutions (2016), Sebastian Edwards, Simon Johnson, and David N. Weil, editors (p. 333 - 355)
Published in September 2016 by University of Chicago Press
© 2016 by the National Bureau of Economic Research
in Research on Africa

This paper uses national household survey data to examine changes in real per capita incomes in South Africa between 1993 and 2008; the start and the end of the first fifteen years of post-apartheid South Africa. These data show an increase in average per capita real incomes across the distribution. Over this period growth has been shared, albeit unequally, across almost the entire spectrum of incomes. However, kernel density estimations make clear that these real income changes are not dramatic and inequality has increased. We conduct a series of semi-parametric decompositions in order to understand the role of endowments and changes in the returns to these endowments in driving these observed changes in the income distribution. This analysis highlights the positive role played by changes in endowments such as access to education and social services over the period. If these endowment changes were all that changed in South Africa over the post-apartheid period, we would have seen a pervasive rightward shift of the distribution of per capita real incomes. In the rest of the paper we explore why this did not happen.

This chapter is no longer available for free download, since the book has been published. To obtain a copy, you must buy the book.
Order from Amazon.com

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w16661, Fifteen Years On: Household Incomes in South Africa, Murray Leibbrandt, James Levinsohn
Users who downloaded this chapter also downloaded these:
Leibbrandt and Levinsohn w16661 Fifteen Years On: Household Incomes in South Africa
Maloney and Mendez Measuring the Impact of Minimum Wages. Evidence from Latin America
Casey, Glennerster, and Miguel Healing the Wounds: Learning from Sierra Leone's Postwar Institutional Reforms
Becker Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach
Davies and Dessy The Political Economy of Government Revenues in Postconflict Resource-Rich Africa: Liberia and Sierra Leone
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us