The point of departure of Thomas Piketty’s influential Capital in the Twenty-First Century was the dramatic growth of private wealth-income ratios in the advanced economies between 1970 and 2010. Using official balance sheet data for South Africa—the first country to publish such data in the developing world—, this paper examines to what extent this reemergence of private wealth was also experienced in the developing-country context.
Art has been suggested as a good way to diversify investment portfolios during times of financial uncertainty. The argument is that art exhibits different risk and return characteristics to conventional investments in other asset classes. The new Citadel Art Price index offered the opportunity to test this theory in the South African context. The Citadel index uses the hedonic regression method with observations drawn from the top 100, 50 and 20 artists by sales volume, giving approximately 29 503 total auction observations.
South African household savings rates have been declining steadily over the last five decades, from about ten percent of national income to nil or negative levels today. Due to the importance of savings on both the household - and aggregate level, the government has introduced several initiatives to reverse the trend. It is against this background that this paper asks whether our current way of measuring savings as the residual between income and expenditure is appropriate to guide economic policy in South Africa.