The Gender Wage Gap in the Post-Apartheid South African Labour Market

University of Cape Town Development Policy Research Unit Working Paper No. 12/148

29 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2012

See all articles by H. Bhorat

H. Bhorat

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit

Sumayya Goga

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit

Date Written: July 1, 2012

Abstract

We estimate the gender wage gap for Africans in post-apartheid South Africa over the 2001 to 2007 period. Separate male and female earnings equations yields no significant decline in the conditional wage gap, regardless of whether we correct for selection into the labour force and employment or not. Notwithstanding this, the data appear to reveal a decline in the “explained” proportion of the gap with no significant change in the “unexplained” proportion of the gap. Nevertheless, the “unexplained” proportion or discrimination accounted for 71 percent of the gap in 2007 when using the uncorrected estimates (and the male wage structure as the non-discriminatory norm) thus highlighting the presence, arguably, of substantial discrimination against African women in the post-apartheid South African labour market.

We note though that the assumption that the “unexplained” component accounts for discrimination has been criticized for a number of reasons, including the fact that women may self-select into certain types of jobs, the impact of gender-based pre-labour market factors as well as omitted variable bias. Finally, we find that using the either the male or pooled wage structure as the non-discriminatory wage structure provides similar results when undertaking the decomposition. In turn, using the female wage structure results in the harshest results as far as gender discrimination is concerned.

Suggested Citation

Bhorat, Haroon I. and Goga, Sumayya, The Gender Wage Gap in the Post-Apartheid South African Labour Market (July 1, 2012). University of Cape Town Development Policy Research Unit Working Paper No. 12/148, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2184258 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2184258

Haroon I. Bhorat (Contact Author)

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit ( email )

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Sumayya Goga

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Development Policy Research Unit ( email )

Private Bag
Rondesbosch, 7700
South Africa

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