The Long-Run Effects of South Africa’s Forced Resettlements on Employment Outcomes


Can South Africa’s segregation policies explain, at least partially, its current poor employment outcomes? To explore this question, we study the long-term impact of the forced resettlement of around 3.5 million black South Africans from their communities to the so-called “homelands” or “Bantustans”, between 1960 and 1991. Our empirical strategy exploits the variability in the magnitude of resettlements between communities. Two main findings. First, the magnitude of outgoing internal migrations was largest for districts close to former homelands. Second, districts close to former homelands have higher rates of non-employed population in 2011. Together the evidence suggests that districts that experienced racial segregation policies most intensely, as measured by outgoing forced resettlements, have worse current employment outcomes.

Related project: Growth Through Inclusion in South Africa

CID Research Fellow & Graduate Student Working Paper: 141
Keywords: Homelands; Employment; Apartheid; Segregation policies
JEL Classifications: J15; J21; J61; J71; N37
Last updated on 01/17/2023