Structural transformation, labour markets, and inequality dynamics

Despite its position as the economic hub of the Southern African region, South Africa has the unenviable position of being the most unequal society in the world. This work stream attempts to understand how historical, social, economic, financial, fiscal, and environmental issues contribute to this inequality.

Researchers will analyze these contributions to deep inequality while looking at the demographic, social, and labour market dynamics that contribute to the persistence of poverty and inequality. Through this work, we aim to provide policymakers with insights and solutions that can strengthen the emerging policy options on reducing poverty and inequality and contributing to inclusive growth.

What data is used for this research?

A new dataset provides previously unavailable administrative tax data which will allow researchers to look more deeply at inequality dynamics, particularly the labour market dynamics that condition it. In Phase II, work stream 3 will continue to develop this novel dataset, augmenting it with additional data sources from other government institutions.

Working paper
Caro Janse Van Rensburg, Carli Bezuidenhout, Marianne Matthee, and Victor Stolzenburg
Inequality has been rising in most countries for several decades, with negative consequences for social cohesion and economic growth. Substantial gender wage gaps contribute significantly to overall wage inequality. We look at an often-overlooked driver...
August 2020
Labour market and inequality
Working paper
Takwanisa Machemedze, Andrew Kerr, and Rob Dorrington
The existing sources of demographic data for South Africa have different strengths and limitations that make them inadequate for calibration of sample weights in post-apartheid South African household surveys. The official mid-year population estimates produced...
July 2020
Labour market and 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 South African Revenue Service, the National Treasury, and UNU-WIDER. In this...
May 2020
Labour market and 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. The South African Revenue Service’s IRP5 administration datasets, which indicate employment duration and spatial location...
May 2020
Labour market and 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 data. We add to the minimum wage literature by differentiating employment effects...
April 2020
Labour market and inequality
Working paper
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 sheet statistics. We systematically compare estimates of the wealth distribution obtained by direct measurement of...
April 2020
Labour market and inequality
Working paper
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 with individual-level data from the labour force survey. We estimate markups across sectors...
March 2020
Labour market and inequality
Working paper
Andrew Kerr and Martin Wittenberg
Traditionally, analysts of the South African labour market have used household survey data to describe earnings and employment in the post-Apartheid period. More recently, administrative data from the South African Revenue Service has been made...
May 2019
Labour market and inequality