SALDRU and FES Host Symposium on Social Mobility and Inequality

On 23 April 2018, the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung South Africa Office (FES) co-hosted a one-day symposium at which SALDRU’s findings on social mobility and inequality in South Africa were presented.

SALDRU’s researchers, economists and sociologists at UCT’s School of Economics, have examined the dynamics of South African family life for a decade. Our findings paint a disturbing picture of the texture of South Africa’s inequality.

Despite receiving more education, the children of the poor are not faring better than their parents. At the same time, South Africa’s middle class is extremely vulnerable, whilst the wealthy have leapfrogged away from the rest.

Our symposium covered the multidimensionality of inequality in South Africa. It examined what intergenerational mobility is and what it looks like for the poor, middle class and wealthy, whilst, at the same time, offering a perspective on why inequality persists.

The symposium included a panel discussion concerning the impact of inequality on the youth, including their behavioural responses, as well as inequality’s implications for higher education. The symposium concluded with a fascinating look at the top end of the distribution with presentations that covered “high earners” and the “wealth tax”.

The event was hosted in honour of Emeritus Professor Francis Wilson, SALDRU’s founding director, who is leaving us to go into retirement after 43 years at our research unit.

Scan the symposium’s programme (PDF) for more information as well as speaker profiles.

Watch Video Coverage and Listen to Podcasts 

We are pleased to bring you video coverage as well as podcasts of the inputs made by all our presenters, in order of appearance, on the day. Follow the links below to view the video or listen to the podcast of each speaker and find their presentation slides.

Markus Awater: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Committed to Social Democracy

Murray Leibbrandt: Understanding the Texture and Multidimensionality of Inequalities in South Africa

Patrizio Piraino: Intergenerational Mobility in South Africa

Vimal Ranchhod: The Multidimensionality of Income Inequality

Ariane De Lannoy: Youth Deprivation in South Africa

Malcolm Keswell : Youth Empowerment in Marginalized Communities

Nicola Branson: Post-secondary Education Enrolment

Martin Wittenberg: High Earners in South Africa

Ingrid Woolard: Wealth Tax and High Incomes in South Africa