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Trends in the working poverty rate (WPR) in post-apartheid South Africa, 1997–2012

Michael Rogan and John Reynolds

Development Southern Africa, 2019, vol. 36, issue 5, 699-715

Abstract: As South Africa prepares to implement a national minimum wage for the first time, a number of questions about the potential benefits of a minimum wage have emerged. However, most of the South African literature, to date, has been concerned with the country's high unemployment rate and not on the quality of employment. In particular, there has been very little attention given to one widely used indicator of decent work, the working poverty rate (WPR). Using the October and General Household Surveys, we present an analysis of trends in working poverty over most of the post-apartheid period (from 1997 to 2012). The findings reveal that, while income poverty has decreased, poverty among the employed is a persistent feature of the post-apartheid period and that the contributions of earnings from employment to overall poverty reduction have been disappointing.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2019.1590181

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