Pathways from Poverty

South Africa

The legacy of apartheid poses unique challenges to South Africa. The majority of African was segregated and neglected for decades. How can this country create a more equitable society without disrupting economic growth?

The objective of our work in South Africa is to access changes in poverty and to identify historical, institutional and socio-economic constraints that hinder progress among the poor. Working with the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, The University of Wisconsin, and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, researchers have collected longitudinal data from the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal in 2004 drawing on the 1993-98 panel data, so called the Kwa-Zulu Natal Income Dynamics Study (KIDS). This survey work was complemented by qualitative studies.

Some of our research findings highlight the importance of dynamic human capital formation and historical as well as institutional constraints on the school system in determining pathways from poverty among Africans. Our analysis also revealed that the province of KwaZulu-Natal experienced a significant increase in prime-age adult mortality, which decreases the expected returns to human capital investments and investments in child human capital.

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