Occupational mobility during South Africa's industrial take-off

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Occupational mobility during South Africa's industrial take-off. / Cilliers, Jeanne; Fourie, Johan.

In: South African Journal of Economics, 2017.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Occupational mobility during South Africa's industrial take-off

AU - Cilliers,Jeanne

AU - Fourie,Johan

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - In the absence of historical income or education data, the change in occupations over time can be used as a measure of mobility. This paper investigates intergenerational occupational mobility using a novel genealogical dataset for settler South Africa, spanning its transition from an agricultural to an early industrialised society (1800-1909). We identify fathers and sons for whom we have complete information on occupational attainment. We follow a two-generation discrete approach to measure changes in both absolute and relative mobility over time. Consistent with qualitative evidence of a shift away from agriculture as the economy’s dominant sector, we see the farming class shrinking and the skilled and professional classes growing. Controlling for changes in the structure of the labour market over time, we find increasing mobility, becoming significant after the discovery of minerals in 1868. We find this mobility particularly for semiskilled workers but virtually no improved mobility for sons of farmers. We also test hypotheses related to the mobility prospects for first-born sons and sons of immigrants.

AB - In the absence of historical income or education data, the change in occupations over time can be used as a measure of mobility. This paper investigates intergenerational occupational mobility using a novel genealogical dataset for settler South Africa, spanning its transition from an agricultural to an early industrialised society (1800-1909). We identify fathers and sons for whom we have complete information on occupational attainment. We follow a two-generation discrete approach to measure changes in both absolute and relative mobility over time. Consistent with qualitative evidence of a shift away from agriculture as the economy’s dominant sector, we see the farming class shrinking and the skilled and professional classes growing. Controlling for changes in the structure of the labour market over time, we find increasing mobility, becoming significant after the discovery of minerals in 1868. We find this mobility particularly for semiskilled workers but virtually no improved mobility for sons of farmers. We also test hypotheses related to the mobility prospects for first-born sons and sons of immigrants.

KW - intergenerational mobility

KW - occupational mobility

KW - resource curse

KW - industrialisation

KW - colonialism

KW - J60

KW - J61

KW - J62

KW - N30

KW - N37

U2 - 10.1111/saje.12177

DO - 10.1111/saje.12177

M3 - Article

JO - South African Journal of Economics

T2 - South African Journal of Economics

JF - South African Journal of Economics

SN - 0038-2280

ER -