The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the factor intensity of South Africa's trade. The conclusion is that South Africa is revealed though its trade pattern to be capital abundant (relative to labor). Surprisingly, this result holds especially for South Africa's trade with its high income partners, which should presumably have been more capital-rich than South Africa. Moreover, this revealed capital intensity of South African production was not reversed during the 1990s after the dismantling of apartheid. This favoring of capital use, against the background of high and rising under-utilization of the country's labor resources, raises questions about the functioning of South Africa's labor market institutions.