State-Sponsored Racial Segregation: Paradoxical Outcomes in South Africa

Claudia Buchmann, Ohio State University
Troy A. Powell, Duke University

This paper examines how the territorial segregation of Blacks in homelands impacted the economic standing of Black and White South Africans shortly after the end of apartheid. We investigate how the employment, occupational status and income of Blacks and Whites differ according to their residence in former homeland areas and their individual assets. Segregation in homelands was detrimental for many Blacks but beneficial for others. Employed Blacks enjoy higher occupational prestige and incomes in former homelands than Blacks in other areas. But far more Blacks are unemployed in former homelands. These outcomes are attributable to the structure of labor markets in homelands. The segregation of Blacks in homelands created a large class divide between employed and unemployed Blacks. In contrast to prior research which finds either wholly beneficial or detrimental effects of segregation for subordinate groups, the results underscore the multiple impacts of segregation on disadvantaged groups in multiracial societies.

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Presented in Session 166: Race and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective