Income Gap a Case of Dwarfs and Giants

Image courtesy Wooster Collective

By Pippa Green

“There is a concern that survey data tend to underestimate very high incomes — partly because being very rich is relatively rare and partly because the rich are less likely to participate in household surveys,” argues Pippa Green, as she writes about the figures for top earners in South Africa, based on the research of Saldrupian and DataFIRST, director, Martin Wittenberg in Business Day.

“Measurement is hard. But with the right tools, it has been possible to uncover some trends about earnings inequality that are staggering. Perhaps the main one is that the median wage has hardly budged since the end of apartheid. But the top end has moved away from the median, while the bottom end has moved towards it…Median income earners are most likely to be African or Coloured males in their late 30’s.”

Minimum wage legislation may explain the rise of the bottom end. But why the top end has rocketed is a puzzle.”

Read more on Business Day.