Determinants of wealth in South Africa

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master's thesis
Title Determinants of wealth in South Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
This paper investigates the determinants of household wealth in South Africa, using the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) Wave 2. In particular, we look at the effect s of the wealth-age profile and other household demographic variables. The hump-shaped profile of the wealth and age relationship suggested by the life-cycle hypothesis is not present in the data, although there are indications of its presence in the upper quantiles of the wealth distribution. The South African wealth distribution does not conform to the Lifecycle Hypothesis at this point in time. The LCH model appears to apply only to particular quantiles of the population, that is, the wealthier households and the particularly indebted households. In particular, the results found these to be households with younger heads, which align with LCH predictions. Poorer households, or those whose assets and liabilities are approximately equal do not appear to accumulate wealth in the same manner as their upper and lower quantile counterparts. However, we cannot formally identify the LCH econometrically at a particular quantile. We found evidence of different wealth accumulation behaviour in Tribal Authority Areas, where a dual land tenure ownership structure is in place. This has important implications for researchers interested in components of wealth, such as income, saving, assets and liabilities.

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