Problems with SWIID: the case of South Africa
Martin Wittenberg ()
No 148, SALDRU Working Papers from Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town
The information contained in databases of summary statistics should look plausible when viewed in context. Judged by that criterion the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID) comes up short with its South African data. Figure 1 contains the series as extracted from the SWIID web site (Solt 2014b). The 95% confidence bands suggest that inequality in 1965, at the height of apartheid, was significantly lower than in the 2000s. This, however, flies in the face of much other evidence. For instance it is well-known that Black mine workers' wages were static in real terms from the early twentieth century right up to the 1970s (e.g. van der Berg 1989). The wages of white miners, by contrast, increased, so that the ratio of White to Black mine wages reached its maximum of twenty to one in 1969 (Devereux 1983, p.18). Simkins (1979) estimated the Gini coefficient in 1970 at 0.71, which seems more in line with the political and social realities. Trying to understand how the SWIID may have arrived at such a misleading estimate is instructive about the types of problems that may be lurking elsewhere in the database.There are four potential sources of error in SWIID: measurement error, model error, imputation error and sampling error.
Keywords: Standardized World Income Inequality Database; SWIID; sampling error; imputation error; measurement error; South Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
http://opensaldru.uct.ac.za/bitstream/handle/11090 ... druwp.pdf?sequence=1 Full text (application/pdf)
Journal Article: Problems with SWIID: the case of South Africa (2015)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ldr:wpaper:148
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in SALDRU Working Papers from Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Alison Siljeur ().