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Changes in education, employment and earnings in South Africa – A cohort analysis

Nicola Branson, Cally Ardington, David Lam () and Murray Leibbrandt

No 105, SALDRU Working Papers from Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town

Abstract: Rapid increases in educational attainment and the massification of secondary education in South Africa resulted in substantial differences in the supply and quality of educated workers across generations. This paper describes changes in the distribution of education across birth cohorts and how these relate to changes in the probability of employment, the distribution of earnings and the earnings premiums to complete secondary and tertiary education. Tracking cohorts over time allows us to disentangle generational and life-cycle components of these changes. Younger cohorts are shown to have increasingly faced worse labour market conditions than their predecessors, although this may be changing for cohorts born after 1980. Furthermore, the relative reward to complete secondary and tertiary education has remained positive, and increased for tertiary educated cohorts born since the 1960s. Increases in earnings inequality among those with complete secondary education suggests increased variance in education quality during the period when completed secondary education expanded rapidly.

Keywords: Educational attainment; Earnings; Employment; South Africa; Cohort analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 I25 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-dem, nep-edu, nep-lab, nep-lma and nep-ltv
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