Household Inequality and the Labor Market in South Africa

Posted: 9 Sep 2001

See all articles by Murray Leibbrandt

Murray Leibbrandt

Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit; University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Commerce

H. Bhorat

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

Ingrid Woolard

University of Port Elizabeth - Department of Economics

Abstract

There has been very little detailed exploration of the relationship between wage income and household inequality in South Africa despite the relevance of this issue for many contemporary growth and development policy debates. This article is directed at such an analysis. It uses a decomposition of household income inequality by income components to highlight the dominance of wage income in driving overall income inequality. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the distribution of the unemployed across different wage-earning household categories. Many of the unemployed are seen to depend on wage earners within their households, but a significant percentage of the unemployed, especially in rural areas, have no direct link to labor market earners. In such cases, the creation of employment is essential. The conclusion explores policy implications by linking our empirical findings to South African debates over the quality versus the quantity of employment.

Suggested Citation

Leibbrandt, Murray Victor and Bhorat, Haroon I. and Woolard, Ingrid, Household Inequality and the Labor Market in South Africa. Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 19, Issue 1, January 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=251763

Murray Victor Leibbrandt (Contact Author)

Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit ( email )

University of Cape Town
Private Bag X03
Rondebosch 7701, 7701
South Africa

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Commerce ( email )

Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

Haroon I. Bhorat

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

Private Bag
Rondesbosch, 7700
South Africa
27 21 480 7162 (Phone)
27 21 423 2501 (Fax)

Ingrid Woolard

University of Port Elizabeth - Department of Economics ( email )

Port Elizabeth 6000
South Africa

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