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MARCH 2015

Dear reader, 
In this edition of the newsletter of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, you will find news on SALDRU's latest working papers and journal articles, as well as recent and upcoming training activities, and the seminar series. If you would prefer not to receive these newsletters in the future, you can unsubscribe here.
From the Director's desk
It is heartening to see recognition for the research efforts of researchers, from the youngest to the oldest, and to see our research published in the top international journals in development economics. Heartening too is the evidence that this research is contributing to national debates over key issues and that our researchers are taking their expertise into national policy fora and commissions.
Murray Leibbrandt
Director, SALDRU
SALDRU training: A busy January and February
SALDRU has been expanding its training activities in recent years. In January, SALDRU delivered its annual two 
week Summer Training Programme in Social Science Research using Household Survey Data. This course has been provided free of charge to roughly 80 participants for the last 17 years. Participants come from a wide range of institutions including many South African universities, government departments, Parliament, Treasury, the Presidency and Statistics South Africa.

SALDRU also worked with DataFirst to present two week-long courses: Econometrics Short Course and Understanding Panel Survey Data. These both form a series of short courses aimed to provide students, researchers and statisticians with the knowledge and skills to analyse large cross sectional and panel datasets such as the Census, the QLFS and NIDS. Upcoming courses in the June/July university vacation and early November include: If you are interested in attending one of these courses in the future, please contact Alison Siljeur to request a notification of the opening of applications. 
SALDRU's paper on the "Youth Wage Subsidy" making waves in the media
Vimal Ranchhod and Arden Finn's recent SALDRU working paper, Estimating the short run effects of South Africa's Employment Tax Incentive on youth employment probabilities using a difference-in-differences approach, has sparked an intense debate in the media recently. The Treasury has released a statement that in the first year since its introduction, 29 000 employers have claimed tax relief under the incentive, corresponding to 270 000 new youth hires. However, Ranchhod and Finn found that in the first six months after its introduction, there was no evidence that the incentive had had any statistically significant and positive effect on youth employment probabilities.

Click on the links below to read the articles:
SALDRUpians receiving recognition for their work
Murray Leibbrandt elected to Research Fellow of UCT
Murray LeibbrandtIn December 2014, Murray Leibbrandt was elected as a Research Fellow of the University of Cape Town, an honour which recognises sustained and original contributions through research or creative endeavour. He joins Don Ross and Rob Dorrington in the Faculty Commerce.

Francis Wilson awarded the 2014 Worcester Peace Award
Francis WilsonAs the director of the 3rd Carnegie Conference on Poverty held at the University of Cape Town in 2012, Prof Wilson facilitated the partnership between the Carnegie 3 Inquiry on Strategies to Overcome Poverty & Inequality and the Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process. It is for this initiative that the 2014 Worcester Peace Award was presented to Prof Francis Wilson at the Annual Peace Table of the Worcester Hope and Reconciliation Process.
SALDRU Graduate Associates moving up in the world
Congratulations to Kerri Brick and Martin Phanga Phanga on their recent graduations! Kerri will continue her work as a Researcher at the Environmental Economics Policy Research Unit (EPRU) at UCT, while Martin has returned home to Malawi and is employed as a Lecturer at the University of Malawi.

PhD student, Elizabeth Lwanga Nanziri, has been awarded two scholarships. She will be visiting the University of Kansas from April for 6 months. Following this she will head to the the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for six months, as part of a collaborative visiting scholar fellowship programme on 'Advancing Inclusive Growth in African Economies' by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at U-Mass and the AAAWE. 

PhD student, Chijioke Nwosu, has been granted a one year post-doctoral fellowship from May, 2015 to April, 2016, at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, which is housed the School of Economics at Georgia State. 
NIDS Wave 4 data collection underway

Data collection for NIDS Wave 4 is currently underway. Fieldwork started in mid-October 2014 and is expected to be completed by July/August 2015. Thus far things have gone very well, and the data and its associated documentation is due for public release in May 2016. 

In addition to the primary work of collecting and releasing the data, NIDS is also creating resources to make the data more accessible to non-academics. A number of short videos documenting the main findings from Wave 3 will be made available on the NIDS website in the near future, as well as targeted email briefings and brochures. Alongside the usual NIDS Panel Data Course that will run in July this year, there will be shorter courses designed to introduce users (particularly policymakers) to the panel aspect of the data.
Highlighted publications
A disaggregated analysis of product price integration in the Southern African Development Community
Neil Balchin, Lawrence Edwards and Asha Sundaram; Journal of African Economies

Distance decay and persistent health care disparities in South Africa
Zoe McLaren, Cally Ardington and Murray Leibbrandt; BMC Health Services Research

The economic consequences of AIDS mortality in South Africa generations
Cally Ardington, Till Barnighausen, Anne Case and Alicia Menendez; Journal of Development Economics
Health outcomes for children born to teen mothers in Cape Town, South Africa
Nicola Branson, Cally Ardington and Murray Leibbrandt; Economic Development and Cultural Change
Implications of water policy reforms for agricultural productivity in South Africa: Scenario analysis based on the Olifants river basin
Dijby Racine Thiam, Edwin Muchapondwa, Johann Kirsten and Magalie Bourblanc; Water Resources and Economics

Intergenerational  earnings mobility and equality of opportunity in South Africa
Patrizio Piraino; World Development

Is China "crowding out" South African exports of manufactures?
Lawrence Edwards and Rhys Jenkins; European Journal of Development Research

Male circumcision and sexual risk behaviours may contribute to considerable ethnic disparities in HIV prevalence in Kenya: An ecological analysis
Chris Richard Kenyon, Lung Vu, Joris Menten and Brendan Maughan-Brown; PLOS ONE

Partner age differences and concurrency in South Africa: Implications for HIV-infection risk among young women
Brendan Maughan-Brown, Chris Kenyon and Mark Lurie; AIDS Behaviour

Poverty and land redistribution
Malcolm Keswell and Michael R. Carter; Journal of Development Economics

Risking it all for love? Resetting beliefs about HIV risk among low-income South African teens
Saugato Datta, Justine Burns, Brendan Maughan-Brown, Matthew Darling and Katherine Eyal
Highlighted working papers
Assessing the impact of social grants on inequality: A South African case study
Reinhard Schiel, Murray Leibbrandt and David Lam; WIDER Working Paper 2014/160

Country of origin and employment prospects among immigrants: An analysis of south-south and north-south migrants to South Africa
Amos Peters and Asha Sundaram; SALDRU Working Paper # 136

The distributional impact of fiscal policy in South Africa
Gabriela Inchauste, Nora Lustig, Mashekwa Maboshe, Catriona Purfield and Ingrid Woolard; World Bank Policy Research Working Paper WPS7194

Estimating the short run effects of South Africa's Employment Tax Incentive on youth employment probabilities using a difference-in-differences approach
Vimal Ranchhod and Arden Finn
; SALDRU Working Paper # 134

Firm survival and change in Ghana, 2003-2013
Elwyn Davies and Andrew Kerr; CSAE Working Paper WPS/201506 

Information, mobilization, and demand for redistribution: A survey experiment in South Africa
Miquel Pellicer, Patrizio Piraino and Eva Wegner
; SALDRU Working Paper # 139
  Arden Finn, Murray Leibbrandt and Morne Oosthuizen; WIDER Working Paper 2014/127

South Africa’s evolving political settlement in comparative perspective 
Brian Levy, Alan Hirsch and Ingrid Woolard
; SALDRU Working Paper # 138

Analysis of employment, real wage, and productivity trends in South Africa since 1994 
Martin Wittenberg; ILO Conditions of Work and Employment Series # 45 

New SALDRU people

Neryvia Pillay, a PhD candidate at Stanford University and Lecturer in the School of Economics at UCT is now a SALDRU Associate. 

Zuzana Brixiova, Advisor to the Chief Economist and Vice President at the African Development Bank
, has recently joined the ranks of SALDRU Affiliates.

Cecil Mlatsheni appointed to Employment Conditions Commission

Cecil Mlatsheni has been appointed by the Minister of Labour, the honourable Mildred Oliphant, to sit on the five person Employment Conditions Commission that advises her on making sectoral determinations regulating minimum wages and working conditions in sectors where collective bargaining is weak.  He succeeds fellow SALDRUpian Ingrid Woolard as a Commissioner. Ingrid was the Chair of the Commission from 2012-2014.

Promotions and NRF ratings

Patrizio Piraino has been promoted to Associate Professor, and Corne van Walbeek and 
Martine Visser have been promoted to Professor. 

Mare Sarr and Brendan Maughan-Brown have received a Y rating from the NRF, joining Vimal Ranchhod, Patrizio Piraino and Cally Ardington.

SALDRU contributions to World Bank report

SALDRU Research Associate, Professor Ingrid Woolard, and SALDRU Graduate Associate, Mashekwa Maboshe, both contributed to the World Bank Report: South Africa Economic Update: Fiscal Policy and Redistribution in an Unequal Society

This report explores whether fiscal policy reduces poverty and inequality and looks at two main questions: how do taxes and spending in South Africa redistribute income between the rich and the poor, and what is the impact of taxes and spending on poverty and inequality? The report was released and discussed at a well-attended policy conference in Pretoria on 5 November 2014.


In the media

Too many going hungry in the land of plenty
10 October 2014  |  Mail & Guardian

Six rand – R3 for four potatoes and R3 for a cup of rice. That is Elzetta’s daily food budget. The 23-year-old, living in Bloemendal in the Eastern Cape, has to support her twin sister and their two children. When they cannot afford the R6 they turn to the staple diet of many poor people in the area – the "poppie water diet", which consists of slices of white bread and a carton of cheap and sugary juice. Read more...

Analysis: Matric matters – but primary school matters more
17 December 2014  |  PunditFact
It’s not enough merely to look at our matric results and pass rates. The really important question is what is happening at primary school level, where there seems to be a critical dumbing down. What gives? Read more...


UCT’s NIDS initiative: South Africa by numbers
16 March 2015  |  Daily Maverick

The National Income Dynamics Study is one of a kind, allowing over 100 interviewers to track nearly 30,000 citizens across the country and measure the changing dynamics of their lives. Each member of the household is interviewed, measured, weighed, and their blood pressure taken. From this we know that poverty is falling, but that nearly two-thirds of those classified as poor in the 2008 survey were still poor in 2012; that nearly half of employed youths don’t have stable employment, and that chronic lifestyle disease is the second most pervasive illness after HIV/AIDS. Read more...

Missing data sinks U.S. and apartheid South Africa claim on black-white wealth gap
17 December 2014  |  PunditFact

Since August, the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof has written a series of columns aimed at showing that white and black Americans live in very different worlds, drawing a comparison to the wealth gap between whites and blacks in apartheid South Africa. However, his comparison runs into trouble due to a lack of data. Read more...

Africa check: Separating myth from reality: a guide to social grants in SA
Africa Check  |  February 2015

In South Africa, few subjects elicit as much debate and opinion as the country's extensive social welfare programme. Does it indeed make people "lazy" and "dependent"? And is South Africa headed for a financial cliff because of it? In recent years a growing chorus of voices have warned that the numbers are not sustainable. Read more...

Inequality: What Brazil got right
2 November 2014  |  Pippa Green and Murray Leibbrandt

Ask a random sample of South Africans what the major illness affecting the economy is and, inevitably, the word "inequality" comes up. But a comparison between the contrasting trajectory of inequality in two developing countries — South Africa and Brazil — highlights some pretty alarming findings. Read more...


Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa

The end of 2014 saw the publication of The Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa, edited by Haroon Bhorat, Alan Hirsch, Ravi Kanbur and Mthuli Ncube. A number of SALDRU researchers, associates and affiliates contributed to the publication, including:

Martin Wittenberg
Ch. 7: Data Issues in South Africa

Lawrence Edwards
Ch. 8: Trade Policy Reform in South Africa

Cecil Mlatsheni and Murray Leibbrandt
Ch. 29: Unemployment in South Africa

Francis Wilson
Ch. 35: South Africa's Migrant Labour System

Murray Leibbrandt, Arden Finn, and Vimal Ranchhod
Ch. 37: Post-apartheid Poverty and Inequality Trends

Anne Case and Cally Ardington
Ch. 41: Health Challenges Past and Future

David Lam and Nicola Branson
Ch. 44: Education in South Africa since 1994

Ingrid Woolard and Katharine Hall
Ch. 45: Social Safety Nets


SALDRU seminars take place on Wednesdays at 13.00 in the 4th floor SAB Seminar Room in the Economics Building, UCT. Lunch is served beforehand, at 12.30 in the adjacent Staff Lounge. Please contact Clare Hofmeyr with queries or to be added to the mailing list. 

Recent presentations included:

Admissions and performance: The case of UCT
Leigh Neethling

ATD Fourth World: A civic and political approach to social exclusion and poverty
Bruno Tardieu

Benefits trickling away: The impact of extending water supply and sanitation services in urban Yemen
Stephan Klasen

Birth order effects on educational attainment and child labour: Evidence from Lesotho
Ramaele Moshoeshoe

Discrimination in the informal sector: Evidence from online labour markets in South Africa
Martin Abel

The effect of free primary education on enrolment in Lesotho
Ramaele Moshoeshoe

Entry, survival and exit of firms in South African manufacturing
Andrew Kerr

Homogeneous teams and productivity: Evidence from a canvassing experiment
Tavneet Suri

How reliable are self-reported reservation wages? Evidence from South Africa
Asmus Zoch

The impact of a remedial reading programme on second language Grade 4 students in KZN: Evidence from a randomised experiment
Stephen Taylor

The impact of the no-fee school policy on educational expenditure, enrolment and school performance: Evidence from NIDS Waves 1-3
Nicola Branson

Increasing access to HIV testing: Impacts on equity of coverage and uptake from a national campaign in South Africa
Brendan Maughan-Brown

Intergenerational mental health transmission and the child support grant
Katherine Eyal

Measuring inequality using asset indices: The case of South Africa
Martin Wittenberg

South Africa’s evolving political settlement in comparative perspective
Brian Levy

Using conditional incentives to reduce HIV infection among male sex workers in Mexico
Omar Galarraga
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