Current Poverty and Income Distribution in the Context of South African History

Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics No. 22/10

23 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2010

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

This paper describes and analyses current poverty and income distribution in South Africa, with a central concern the relationship between poverty, inequality and growth. The paper also investigates patterns of and trends in poverty and income distribution, a literature with a long and distinguished history. Drawing from recent literature in this regard, the paper shows that the labour market – rather than access to wealth or to political and fiscal power – currently sets the limits to redistribution. Wage inequality, deeply rooted in South Africa’s history, plays a central role in overall income distribution, and patterns of human capital development are fundamental to the future growth path and therefore to poverty and income distribution. The paper therefore concludes that reducing inequality substantially is currently unlikely without a massive increase in the human capital of those presently poor, but that prospects in this regard are inauspicious.

Keywords: South Africa, poverty, income distribution, labour market

JEL Classification: O15, D31, D63, J31, N37

Suggested Citation

Van der Berg, Servaas, Current Poverty and Income Distribution in the Context of South African History (2010). Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics No. 22/10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1727599 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1727599

Servaas Van der Berg (Contact Author)

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
79
Abstract Views
657
rank
312,962
PlumX Metrics