Estimating the Balance Sheet of the Personal Sector in an Emerging Market Country: South Africa, 1975–2005

Janine Aron, John Muellbauer and Johan Prinsloo

in Personal Wealth from a Global Perspective

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199548880
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720765 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

Estimating the Balance Sheet of the Personal Sector in an Emerging Market Country: South Africa, 1975–2005

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Official balance‐sheet estimates for the household sector are not currently available in South Africa, yet, with the country's well‐developed financial sector and deep capital markets, asset market channels are likely to be important determinants of aggregate consumer spending and saving, consumer demand for credit, and their broad money holdings. This study produces estimates of household balance sheets for South Africa. The study draws, where feasible, on best practice from the Office of National Statistics of the UK and assesses the quality of the data sources and suggests areas where additional surveys or improvements in data‐collection procedures would be helpful further to improve the quality of the balance‐sheet estimates. Furthermore, quarterly balance‐sheet measures to 2005 are provided, and linked to quarterly measures. The main balance‐sheet categories are liquid assets, household debt, and various categories of illiquid financial and tangible assets, including pension wealth, directly held shares and bonds, and housing. Revised debt estimates and new estimates of tangible assets for households and unincorporated businesses are provided. The study describes the trends of the estimates of the household sector's balance sheets and of total net wealth. The paucity of data for developing and emerging market countries is illustrated by means of a survey, and lessons are drawn from the South African research for the compilation of household‐sector balance sheets.

Keywords: emerging market countries; unincorporated businesses; household sector wealth; South Africa

Chapter.  11695 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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