Urban bias revisited : urban and rural development in post-apartheid South Africa.
Several studies have documented the positive impact of post-apartheid development programmes on economic livelihoods in South Africa. This study explores the impact of post-apartheid policies with a focus on differences across geographical types (geo-types). In this study, I first analyse the design and implementation of key post-apartheid government policies through the lens of urban bias and synergist development theory. Next, I use national-level household survey data from the 1997 October Household Survey (OHS), the 2002 General Household Survey (GHS), and the first (2008) wave of the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) to describe key trends and differences in demographic and socio-economic characteristics across geo-types. In doing so, the data reveal large differences between rural and urban areas. Although a few socio-economic disparities have narrowed somewhat since 1997, most differences remain substantial in 2008. The research also finds that the „rural‟ and „urban‟ binary categories provide an incomplete portrait of socio-economic realities in South Africa. More specifically, the four-geo type data identified in the NIDS 2008 uncover significant differences within rural and urban areas which make households located in tribal authority and urban informal areas more vulnerable to poverty.Using poverty and regression analysis, the study concludes that geo-type of residence and other correlates of socio-economic well-being have a significant impact on differential poverty risk across geo-types. Importantly, even after controlling for a range of observable characteristics, geo-type of residence still has a significant effect on the probability that an individual resides in a poor household. Given these findings, the study advocates further research into factors influencing poverty risk in particular geo-types and more careful attention to differences across geo-types in both research and policy-making.