Turning the tide on inequality

Under this work stream UNU-WIDER, the National Treasury (NT), and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) will work jointly to address distributional issues in both the bottom half and the top of the income distribution. While South Africa’s peaceful transition from racial domination to democracy is rightly acclaimed, lack of progress towards a more balanced distribution of opportunities and income raises difficult political and economic questions. What kinds of social, economic or institutional change might contribute to more rapid transformation of opportunities for the bottom half of the household income distribution? What kinds of constraints on power and privilege might contribute to fairer outcomes at the top tail of the distribution? These are practical and political questions of interest both in South Africa and internationally, and they are economic and institutional questions of considerable complexity.

The research will further explore topics, such as the shape of the personal income tax curve, pricing of public health services, housing finance, regulation of land ownership, and access to vocational education. The determinants of opportunity at the bottom and the top of the income distribution have both common features and important differences.

The aim is to examine both commonalities and divergences, and explore options for reform that might yield better outcomes. The intention also is to explore the inter-connections between different aspects of social, institutional and economic progress — how patterns of educational opportunity relate to labour market outcomes, how household living conditions affect schooling or health, how urban–rural linkages relate to earnings trends, for example.

Technical workshop
3-day training workshop including short lectures and practical computer based training
01 July 2020
inequality
Working paper
Andrew Kerr
The IRP5 and IT3(a) tax data from the South African Revenue Service have been made available to researchers through a joint project between the Sou
01 June 2020
inequality
Working paper
Ihsaan Bassier and Ingrid Woolard
Despite South Africa’s need for inclusive economic growth, we find that the income trajectories of the rich continue to diverge from the rest of th
01 June 2020
inequality
Working paper
Jacomien Van Der Merwe and Stephan Krygsman
The purpose of this research is to investigate whether transport accessibility influences the employment duration of individuals in South Africa.
01 June 2020
inequality
Working paper
Marlies Piek, Dieter von Fintel and Johann Kirsten
This paper analyses firms’ responses to the 50% increase in agricultural minimum wages in 2013 and contributes to the South African minimum wage li
25 May 2020
inequality
Working paper
Caro Janse Van Rensburg, Carli Bezuidenhout, Marianne Matthee and Victor Stolzenburg
Inequality has been on the rise in most countries over the past decades with negative consequences for social cohesion and economic growth.
20 May 2020
inequality
Working paper
Andrew Kerr and Aroop Chatterjee
Research on earnings inequality in South Africa has almost entirely used household survey data.
19 May 2020
inequality
Working paper
The impact of the Employment Equity Act on female inter-industry labour mobility and the gender wage gap in South Africa
Mattie Susan Landman and Neave O’Clery
The Employment Equity Act No. 55 of 1998 was introduced by the South African government to address the legacy of apartheid and ensure equitable...
29 April 2020
inequality
Working paper
Marlies Piek, Dieter von Fintel, and Johann Kirsten
This paper presents new evidence on the employment effects of a large increase in agricultural minimum wages in South Africa using anonymized tax...
29 April 2020
inequality
Working paper
Estimating the distribution of household wealth in South Africa
Aroop Chatterjee, Léo Czajka, and Amory Gethin
This paper estimates the distribution of personal wealth in South Africa by combining tax microdata, household surveys, and macroeconomic balance...
29 April 2020
inequality
Working paper
Product market competition and the labour market - Evidence from South Africa
Francesco Amodio, Michele Di Maio, Yifan Li, and Patrizio Piraino
We study the relationship between product market competition and labour market outcomes in South Africa. We combine firm-level data from tax records...
30 March 2020
inequality
Working paper
Job spells in an emerging market - Evidence from apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa
Robert Hill, Kezia Lilenstein, and Amy Thornton
Few studies exist on job duration in developing labour markets—an important omission both in our understanding of such markets and for the job...
18 March 2020
inequality