2002-10-15: Labour Markets and Social Frontiers - Press Statement
Last Modified Date:
2020-10-08, 08:14 PM
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Dr X.P Guma, the Deputy-Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, today launched the Bank’s flagship research publication series entitled Labour Markets and Social Frontiers.This initiative is undertaken to engage with the wider community of researchers, decision-makers and other stakeholders on labour markets and the socio-economic developmental issues. The articles include an empirical analysis of economic and demographic factors that drive upward or downward income mobility of households in KwaZulu-Natal. Two other articles probe the debates regarding the impact of inflation on the poor as well as the likely socio-economic inequality outcomes of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. An additional theme explores the economic growth and employment benefits that might accrue through the penetration of the information and communication technology in South Africa. This bi-annual research publication in which researchers from the Bank and external scholars and policy analysts contribute articles follows the well-received pilot released in March 2002. The primary aim of the series is to share information and bridge the gap between researchers and policy makers. It is envisaged that the articles in the series implicitly or explicitly demonstrate linkages to the macroeconomic framework and monetary policy development. By engaging in broader socio-economic and labour markets issues, the Bank is attempting to enhance the knowledge base as well as public awareness regarding the outcomes and influential factors as it fosters price stability – its mandate. Since the publication offers the space for research dialogue, the information and independent scientific opinions expressed in the various articles do not necessarily reflect the official view of the Reserve Bank. Highlights of the launch issue The articles in the launch publication highlight some key findings. The first article calls for the analysis of hard data to assess the actual extent to which the erosion of purchasing power – through inflation - affects poor households differently from the non-poor. It opens the debate by reviewing experiences in other countries and calls for empirical investigations into South Africa’s current situation. The second article finds that between 1993 and 1998 there was a significantly high level of income mobility among African households compared with industrialised and most developing countries. Demographic changes – measured through alterations in household size – as well as changes in employment status are found to be the major drivers of these mobility patterns in post-apartheid South Africa. Loss of employment, for instance, accounts for over a third (34 per cent) of households that experienced a downward slide into poverty. The third highlight is the observation that research on the macroeconomic impact of HIV/Aids tends not to reflect on the array of economic inequality outcomes of this disease and how it could affect key macroeconomic trends such as economic growth. It suggests a framework of analysis of intergenerational pass-through factors by which inequality might be exacerbated if the disease continues unabated at household level. The micro-macro linkages and overall prospects for South Africa to reduce its current patterns of income disparity should take these social dynamics into consideration. Finally, recognising the inevitability of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for a globalising economy such as South Africa, the final article evaluates the prospects for South Africa’s productivity and economic growth outcomes due to ICTs diffusion. The existing debate reflects an impasse between the optimistic and the pessimistic views of the macroeconomic impact of ICTs.