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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - South African Journal of Economics
Title Wages and wage inequality in South Africa 1994–2011: Part 2 – Inequality measurement and trends
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/saje.12147
Abstract
We analyse the long-term trends in wage inequality in South Africa, using household survey data. We show that the trends in household income inequality are largely driven by changes in wage inequality. Given the detailed nature of our series we show that measurement issues and breaks in the series need to be dealt with in order to draw robust conclusions from the data. Most standard inequality measures show that wage inequality has increased over the period. Nevertheless the choice of measure matters, because there are different trends in different parts of the distribution. It appears that the distribution below the median has become more compressed, while the top of the wage distribution has moved away from the median. The inequality in the labour market translates into even higher inequality in society given that high earners tend to live together with other high earners while low wage individuals often end up sharing their incomes with the unemployed. Furthermore there are many South Africans with access to no wage income. Given the trends analysed here it is not surprising that overall inequality in South Africa has not come down or has even increased since the end of apartheid.

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Wittenberg, Martin. "Wages and wage inequality in South Africa 1994–2011: Part 2 – Inequality measurement and trends." South African Journal of Economics (2016).
Copyright DataFirst, University of Cape Town