Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Labor Markets in South Africa During Apartheid

Mariotti, Martine (2009): Labor Markets in South Africa During Apartheid.

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Abstract

Conventional wisdom holds that international political pressure and domestic civil unrest in the mid-1970s and 1980s brought an end to apartheid in South Africa. I show that, prior to these events, labor market pressure in the late 1960s/early 1970s caused a dramatic unraveling of apartheid in the workplace. Increased educational attainment among whites reduced resistance to opening semi-skilled jobs to Africans. This institutional change reflected white economic preferences rather than a relaxation of attitudes toward apartheid. I show that whites benefited from the relaxation of job reservation rules and that this is the primary cause of black occupational advancement.

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