Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa, 1903-2007

66 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2010

See all articles by Facundo Alvaredo

Facundo Alvaredo

Ecole Normale Superieure (PSE-ENS)

Anthony B. Atkinson

University of Oxford - Nuffield Department of Medicine; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: December 2010

Abstract

There have been important studies of overall income inequality and of poverty in South Africa. In this paper, we approach the subject from a different direction: the extent and evolution of top incomes. We present estimates of the shares in total income of groups such as the top 1 per cent and the top 0.1 per cent, covering, with gaps, more than a hundred years. In order to explain the observed dynamics, here we consider three factors: the transfer of political authority, racial discrimination, and the rich mineral resources. The estimates of top income shares for recent years bear out the picture of South Africa as a highly unequal country.

Keywords: distribution, income taxation, South Africa, top income shares

JEL Classification: D3, H0, N3

Suggested Citation

Alvaredo, Facundo and Atkinson, Anthony B., Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa, 1903-2007 (December 2010). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8155, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1729573

Facundo Alvaredo (Contact Author)

Ecole Normale Superieure (PSE-ENS) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France

Anthony B. Atkinson

University of Oxford - Nuffield Department of Medicine

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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