nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2008‒06‒13
three papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
University Amedeo Avogadro

  1. Post-Apartheid Trends in Gender Discrimination in South Africa: Analysis through Decomposition Techniques By Debra Shepherd
  2. The Economic Impact of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa By Azomahou, Theophile
  3. Religion and Human Capital in Ghana By Blunch, N.

  1. By: Debra Shepherd (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Using appropriate econometric methods and 11 representative household surveys, this paper empirically assesses the extent and evolution of gender discrimination in the South African labour market over the post-apartheid period. Attention is also paid to the role that anti-discriminatory legislation has had to play in effecting change in the South African labour market. Much of the paper’s focus is placed on African women who would have benefited most from the new legislative environment. African and, to a lesser extent, Coloured women received on average higher real wages than their male counterparts following changes in labour legislation. Oaxaca (1973) and Blinder (1973) decompositions reveal this to be due to both greater endowments of productive characteristics for African and Coloured women and declining gender discrimination that reached relative stability after 2000. Detailed Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions of the African gender wage gap reveal that the driving factor behind an increasing and negative explained component is improved distribution and returns to productive characteristics for women in certain occupations, as well as higher returns to education and employment in the public sector. However, African women are prevented from realising this in the form of higher earnings as a result of increasing levels of “pure discrimination” and returns to employment in certain industries for males. Decomposition results using the methodology of Juhn, Murphy and Pierce (1991, 1993) are suggestive of a sticky floor for African women in the South African labour market. The gender wage gap is therefore found to be wider at the bottom of the wage distribution than at the top.
    Keywords: Discrimination, Gender, South Africa
    JEL: J31 J71
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Azomahou, Theophile (UNU-MERIT)
    Abstract: In this paper, a simple general equilibrium model à la Solow is developed to capture the impact of AIDS on economic growth. To this end, a benchmark model due to Cuddington and Hancock (1994) is extended in various directions. In particular, the sharply declining life expectancy patterns are clearly re°ected in the enlarged model through a generic Ben-Porath mechanism. AIDS-related health expenditures are incorporated as well. Using up-do-date optimal forecasting methods, the model applied to South Africa shows that while a relatively short term assessment might not reveal any dramatic AIDS growth e®ect, the medium/long run impact can be truly devastating. In particular, the heavy trends in mortality and life expectancy currently induced by AIDS are shown to be potentially at least twice more detrimen-tal for per capita economic growth in the period 2020-2030 compared to 2000-2010.
    Keywords: Epidemics, Life Expectancy, Economic Growth, AIDS
    JEL: C61 C62 O41
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Blunch, N.
    Abstract: This paper examines the religion-human capital link, examining a recent household survey for Ghana. Insights from the recent anthropological literature leads to a prediction of Islam being associated with lower human capital levels than Christianity, since Islam, perhaps surprisingly, may be clustered together with Traditional/Animist religion within the group of orally based religions for the case of Ghana. While previous studies typically have only considered the main religions, thereby not allowing for heterogeneous associations in the links at the sub-group level, and also have not allowed religious affiliation to be endogenously determined, these possibilities are explored here, as well. I find a strong association between individual religious affiliation and human capital as measured by years of schooling, with Christians as a group being more literate and having completed more years of schooling than Muslims and Animists / Traditionalists, thus confirming the predictions from the conceptual framework. At the same time, there is a great deal of heterogeneity in the strength of this relationship within different types of Christianity. The instrumental variables estimation strategy proves to be preferable to OLS, while at the same yielding higher associations in the religion-human capital relations ship. In turn, this indicates that previous studies, which have typically used OLS, may have systematically underestimated the strength of the religion-human capital link. Directions for future research are also presented.
    Keywords: Religion, human capital, literacy and numeracy, Ghana.
    JEL: J24 Z12
    Date: 2007–12

This nep-afr issue is ©2008 by Marco Novarese. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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