Race, poverty and deprivation in South Africa

Type Journal Article - Journal of African Economies
Title Race, poverty and deprivation in South Africa
Volume 22
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 187-238
URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jae/ejs019
The aim of this paper was to explain why poverty and material deprivation in South Africa are significantly higher among those of African descent than among whites. To do so, we estimate the conditional levels of poverty and deprivation Africans would experience had they the same characteristics as whites. By comparing the actual and counterfactual distributions, we show that the racial gap in poverty and deprivation can be attributed to the cumulative disadvantaged characteristics of Africans, such as their current level of educational attainment, demographic structure and area of residence, as well as to the inertia of past racial inequalities. Progress made in the educational and labour market outcomes of Africans after apartheid explains the reduction in the racial poverty differential.

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