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Measuring wealth inequality in South Africa: An agenda

Aroop Chatterjee

Development Southern Africa, 2019, vol. 36, issue 6, 839-859

Abstract: Understanding wealth inequality has unique significance in South Africa. The co-existence of extreme poverty and extreme wealth is starkly visible. Apartheid-era inequality has persisted despite more than 20 years of democracy. Much of the recent research focus on inequality has been on inequality of income and of opportunities, especially quantitatively. With the recent project to release South African tax administrative data for research, this paper hopes to show how use of the tax administrative data can contribute to developing a refreshed quantitative analysis of wealth inequality, especially in estimating the top shares of the wealth distribution, and so contribute to the existing literature on wealth inequality in South Africa. The first section will explore why studying wealth inequality is of fundamental importance. The second section will review international data and methods used to research wealth inequality, before laying out suggested approach to doing such studies in South Africa.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2019.1690977

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