Migration and Urbanisation in Post-Apartheid South Africa

39 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2016

See all articles by Jan Bakker

Jan Bakker

University of Oxford

Christopher Robert Parsons

The University of Western Australia - Department of Economics

Ferdinand Rauch

University of Oxford

Abstract

Under apartheid, black South Africans were severely restricted in their choice of location and many were forced to live in homelands. Following the abolition of apartheid they were free to migrate. Given gravity, a town nearer to the homelands can be expected to receive a larger inflow of people than a more distant town following the removal of mobility restrictions. Exploting this exogenous variation, we study the effect of migration on urbanisation and the distribution of population. In particular, we test if migration inflows led to displacement, path dependence, or agglomeration in destination areas. We find evidence for path dependence in the aggregate, but substantial heterogeneity across town densities. An exogenous population shock leads to an increase of the urban relative to the rural population, which suggests that exogenous migration shocks can foster urbanisation in the medium run.

Keywords: economic geography, migration, urbanisation, natural experiment

JEL Classification: R12, R23, N97, O18

Suggested Citation

Bakker, Jan and Parsons, Christopher Robert and Rauch, Ferdinand, Migration and Urbanisation in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2819395 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2819395

Jan Bakker (Contact Author)

University of Oxford

Christopher Robert Parsons

The University of Western Australia - Department of Economics ( email )

35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

Ferdinand Rauch

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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