Economic and political determinants of the South African labour share, 1971–2019

Giorgos Gouzoulis, Collin Constantine, Joseph Ajefu

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4 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


This study examines the drivers of the steady decline in South Africa’s private sector labour share between 1971 and 2019. The focus on South Africa is instructive as its distributional contestation is bounded in a matrix of racial conflict. Crucial reforms on trade, finance and welfare were undertaken since 1994, but the study finds little evidence that the extension of the franchise promoted egalitarianism, since white economic elites invested in de facto political power. This study employs an Unrestricted Error Correction Model to estimate the drivers of the private sector labour share, and the findings suggest that globalisation, financialisation and public spending have decreased the labour share, while the effects of education have been positive but insufficient to halt the decline.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0143831X2110632
Pages (from-to)184-207
Number of pages24
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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