Affirmative action in South Africa: an empirical assessment of the impact on labour market outcomes

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This paper set out to investigate the impact of affirmative action in South Africa on labour market outcomes for the period 1997 to 2006. From the empirical analysis we observe that race and gender both played an important role in determining labour market outcomes – although the former is much more important than the latter – and that there is very little evidence to suggest that these effects are disappearing over time.

The effect of affirmative action policies in reducing the employment or wage gaps have been marginal at best, and were much less significant in bringing about changes in labour market outcomes than improved access to education for Africans, the remaining educational quality differential and the employment effects of accelerated economic growth.

The authors

Rulof Burger is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Rachel Jafta is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Emails: rulof@sun.ac.za; rccj@sun.ac.za

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