Getting ahead or falling behind: Findings from the second wave of the National Income Dynamics Study
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Development Southern Africa
University of Cape Town
The National Income Dynamics Study is the first national panel study of South African individuals. Its objective is to track these individuals over time to study social mobility. This paper documents the survey design and a successful recontact record in Wave 2 before providing an overview of the key findings from the other papers in this issue of the journal. Those from the top of the income distribution were hardest to recontact. The papers show that average real incomes grew slightly between 2008 and 2010. However, life satisfaction and expectations of future upward mobility declined. Being unemployed and moving into unemployment is associated with the lowest level of life satisfaction. Aggregate employment did not decline much but there was significant labour-market churn. The National Income Dynamics Study data reveal high levels of grade repetition and a slow transition from school to work. Relocating is shown to be an important part of schooling and employment decisions.