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Peng Zhang - Research Summary

University of Cape Town

Returns to education, marital sorting and family background in South Africa

This paper investigates whether father-in-law's background has a stronger explanatory power than father's background for male wages in South Africa. We also investigate the heterogeneity of the effects of father and father-in-law's background at different educational levels and between different population groups. After correcting for potential measurement errors in both earnings and education, we find that, consistent with existing studies on Brazil, father-in-law's schooling has a higher effect on male workers' labour market earnings than own father's schooling. These effects increase with parental educational levels. Father's background plays a more important role in explaining labour market income of black South African males compared to white males, while this does not hold for father-in-law's background.

Furthermore, we find that family background and martial sorting are also related to other labour market outcomes, such as employment and labour force participation.