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JULY 2013

Dear reader, 

In this edition of the newsletter of the Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU), you will find news on our working papershighlighted journal articlesbriefing papers, recent courses, and seminars. If you would prefer not to receive these newsletters in the future, you can unsubscribe here.

From the Director's desk
This newsletter flags a good number of relevant research outputs produced by a busy research group over the last quarter. It is a special pleasure to complement this productivity with the recognition of excellence for several individual researchers as well as for the group as a whole. A wholly appropriate complement to this is our central involvement in a set of short courses and events that aspire to make a contribution to the broader research and policy communities in our areas of research strength.  

Hosting J-PAL Africa is one of our largest responsibilities on behalf of the evidence-based policy community in Africa. This newsletter reports on J-PAL Africa’s transition from one outstanding Executive Director to another. Kamilla Gumede did a wonderful job in establishing J-PAL Africa and a joint SALDRU/J-PAL selection committee was delighted to be able to appoint Laura Poswell to build on this foundation. 

It is a privilege to work in a team which contributes to research, policy-oriented impact evaluation and a growing range of capacity building initiatives. We look forward to this continuing in the second half of the year.

Murray Leibbrandt
Director of SALDRU

Cally Ardington made a J-PAL Africa Affiliate

Cally Ardington, an Associate Professor within SALDRU, has recently been made a J-PAL Africa affiliate. Within the sphere of randomised control trails, she is currently involved in an evaluation of a holiday programme designed to support Grade 4 learners in the transition to English as the language of teaching and learning in South Africa. 

New SALDRU project: Policy Design and Evaluation Research

SALDRU, in consortium with Universitá Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, FUNDP Namur, Stockholm University, LSE, PSE and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, put in a bid to the EU for an “Initial Training Network”. They heard recently that the bid was successful.  The project, called Policy Design and Evaluation Research (PODER) will provide doctoral students with training in the latest techniques for the design and evaluation of innovative and effective policies to fight poverty. Doctoral and post-doctoral students at UCT will be given funding to visit other institutions in the network, and in turn UCT will host students from other institutions.

Reza Daniels placed second in Cochrane-Hansen competition

Reza Daniels, lecturer in the School of Economics and SALDRU associate, was recently placed second in the Cochran-Hansen competition for the best paper on survey research methods submitted by a young statistician from a developing country or transition country. This prize is awarded every two years by the International Association of Survey Statisticians, a division of the International Statistical Institute.

Feminist Economics Workshop: Special Issue on Engendering Economic Policy in Africa

Feminist Economics is a well-established international peer-reviewed journal that places emphasis on the need to represent a diversity of gender perspectives across lines of ethnicity, class and region. In line with this goal, the journal issued a call for papers for a special edition on engendering economic policy in Africa. 30 abstracts were submitted, of which 18 were selected for peer review with a final count of 9 drafts being chosen for publication.

A workshop was hosted by SALDRU to give the authors an opportunity to present their draft papers and receive feedback for final changes. In total, 24 researchers participated from universities and research institutes across 10 countries, including Cameroon, Ghana, Holland, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and the US. Amongst other topics the draft papers focused on bargaining power, health status, marital relationships, property rights, asset ownership, macroeconomic policy, labour force participation and poverty and inequality.


Recent working papers

The impact of Chinese import penetration on the South African manufacturing sector
Lawrence Edwards and Rhys Jenkins


Sampling methodology and field work changes in the October Household Surveys and Labour Forse Surveys
Andrew Kerr and Martin Wittenberg


Progress through school and the determinants of school dropout in South Africa
Nicola Branson, Clare Hofmeyr and David Lam


What happened to multidimensional poverty in South Africa between 1993 and 2010?
Arden Finn, Murray Leibbrandt and Ingrid Woolard


Trends in teenage childbearing and schooling outcomes for children born to teens in South Africa
Nicola Branson, Cally Ardington and Murray Leibbrandt 


Distance as a barrier to healthcare access in South Africa
Zoe McLaren, Cally Ardington and Murray Leibbrandt

Social protection and labour market outcomes of youth in South Africa 
Cally Ardington, Till Barnighausen, Anne Case and Alicia Menendez

Military expenditure, economic growth and heterogeneity
J Paul Dunne and Nan Tian

New Evidence on subjective well-being and the definition of unemployment in South Africa
Neil Lloyd and Murray Leibbrandt

Effects of household shocks and poverty on the timing of traditional male circumcision and HIV risk in South Africa
Atheendar S. Venkataramani and Brendan Maughan-Brown

Job creation and destruction in South Africa
Andrew Kerr, Martin Wittenberg and Jairo Arrow

Highlighted journal articles

The economic impacts of tourism in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa: Is poverty subsiding?
Edwin Muchapondwa and Jesper Stage

Incorrect Beliefs About Male Circumcision and Male-to-Female HIV Transmission Risk in South Africa: Implications for Prevention
Atheendar S. Venkataramani and Brendan Maughan-Brown

Measuring the impact of educational interventions on the academic performance of academic development students in second-year microeconomics
Leonard Smith and Vimal Ranchhod

Effects of Household Shocks and Poverty on the Timing of Traditional Male Circumcision and HIV Risk in South Africa
Atheendar S. Venkataramani and Brendan Maughan-Brown

Revisiting wage subsidies: How pro-poor is a South African wage subsidy likely to be?
Justine Burns, Lawrence Edwards and Kalie Pauw

Determinants of black women's labour force participation in post-Apartheid South Africa
Martin Wittenberg and Miracle Ntuli

Concurrent sexual partnerships among young adults in Cape Town, South Africa: how is concurrency changing?
Brendan Maughan-Brown

Measuring the impact of educational interventions on the academic performance of black academic development students
Leonard Smith

The influence of older classmates on adolescent sexual behaviour in Cape Town, South Africa
David Lam, Letitia Marteleto and Vimal Ranchhod 

Explaining the first-year academic performance of commerce academic development students: A statistical analysis
Leonard Smith, June Pym and Vimal Ranchhod 

Highlighted books and book chapters

Rising tide - Is growth in emerging economies good for the United States?
Lawrence Edwards and Robert Lawrence

Post-apartheid changes in South African inequality
 in J. Gornick and M. Jantti (eds.)  Income Inequality: Economic Disparities and the Middle Class in Affluent Countries 
Murray Leibbrandt, Arden Fill and Ingrid Woolard



New J-PAL Africa Executive Director

After setting up and managing the J-PAL Africa office for three years, Kamilla Gumede has left to become Director of a new research centre at Aarhus University focusing on the well-being of children and youth in Denmark. Replacing her is Laura Poswell, who comes to us from FUEL. Her role there involved working in close partnership with South Africa's Department of Basic Education to implement a service delivery enhancement programme with the National School Nutrition Programme. At J-PAL Africa she will be working with 
governments and NGOs in Africa to decipher 
policy lessons about what works and collaborating with researchers and policy makers to conduct randomised evaluations that address policy questions facing African decision-makers.

Launch of draft report from the Carnegie III conference

The conference draft report has been released and is being circulated to authors for feedback. The final report, which will be available to the public, is expected to be ready by the end of the year. 

New project on the economics of alcohol control

Based on their experience in the economics of tobacco control, Corne van Walbeek and Evan Blecher were approached by the World Health Organisation to do a study on the economics of alcohol in South Africa. The study aims to provide the WHO with a deeper understanding of the relationship between alcohol excise taxes, alcohol prices and alcohol consumption. South Africa's experience with excise taxes on alcohol will be compared to experiences in countries with a similar level of development as South Africa. The study will inform the thinking of the WHO as to whether an excise tax on alcohol is an effective way of reducing alcohol misuse and raising additional revenue for government.

Popular writing

'Rock bottoms' push jobless rate to 36.7%

Murray Leibbrandt and Neil Lloyd argue that South Africa’s policy makers should use a broader measure of unemployment, based on the "happiness levels" of different sets of people. Their research revisits the old debate about excluding those who have given up looking for work from the definition of the unemployed. If these "discouraged workers" are included, South Africa’s unemployment rate would rocket from 25.2% to 36.7%.
See here for the entire article and here for the SALDRU working paper on which it is based.

Recent Courses

Complex Survey Analysis
10-14 June 2013

This course is aimed at postgraduate students (Masters and Ph.D.) and researchers wanting to analyse social surveys using Stata. The course is aimed at outlining the theory of weighting, clustering and stratification and we discuss how social surveys are practically implemented in South Africa. See here for more information. If you would like to be notified the next time this course is run, please contact Alison Siljeur.

Social Welfare Measurement
18-21 June & 24-27 June 2013

This is a joint SALDRU and DataFirst 8 day course.  It introduces students, researchers, and officials in state agencies to the key concepts in measuring income, expenditure, poverty and inequality. See here for more information. Subject to the availability of funding, this course will be offered again in 2014. Please contact Alison Siljeur if you would like to be notified when applications open.

NIDS Panel Data Course
1 - 5 July 2013

This five day training course is designed for post-graduate students, university staff and government employees who are interested in using NIDS panel data. Participants came from a range of backgrounds, including postgraduate studies at UWC, Rhodes, Fort Hare, NMMU, UKZN and UFS and international institutions in Nigeria, the US and Namibia.
Subject to the availability of funding, this course will be offered again in 2014. Please contact Tania Hendricks if you would like to be notified when applications open.


The SALDRU seminar series recently featured the following presentations:

An overview of South African schooling: Understanding inequality and underperformance
Nic Spaull, University of Stellenbosch
Structural transformation, employment creation and labour markets: the implications for poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa
Francis Teal, University of Oxford

The economic consequences of death in South Africa
Cally Ardington, SALDRU, UCT

Education-related policy recommendations of the Economic Survey of South Africa

Does de-industrialisation cause social polarisation in global cities?
Jacqueline Borel-Saladin, HSRC
Accountability in dominant party systems
Eva Wegner, German Institute of Global and Area Studies 
Wage setting in the South African clothing industry
Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings, CSSR, UCT
Incorrect inferences about male circumcision and female HIV infection risk
Brendan Maughan-Brown, SALDRU, UCT

Credit constraints and the racial gap in post-secondary education in South Africa
David Lam, University of Michigan

Poverty and ethnicity among black South Africans
Carlos Gradin, University of Vigo

The opt-out continuation: Women's career interruptions around child-bearing in the United States from 1984-2012
Tanya Byker, University of Michigan

Son and daughter preference in South Africa
Johannes Norling, University of Michigan

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