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MAY 2014

Dear reader, 

In this edition of the newsletter of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU), you will find news on our Econ3x3 briefs, working papers, highlighted journal articles and more. If you would prefer not to receive these newsletters in the future, you can unsubscribe here.

From the Director's desk
This newsletter highlights a number of activities that occurred within the National Income Dynamics Study at the end of 2013 and the start of 2014. In early December the third wave of NIDS data was launched by the National Planning Commission in Pretoria with a number of papers using the data being prepared by the NIDS team and SALDRU researchers. At the same time, the January edition of Development Southern Africa was devoted to a set of articles profiling the usefulness of the first two waves of NIDS data for analysis of South African poverty and inequality dynamics as well as the education, health, migration and labour market processes that underlie these dynamics. Data from Wave 3 of the NIDS survey was placed in the public domain within a year of coming out of the field. All three waves of data are available to the research community for electronic download and there have been over 3000 downloads. In January the Summer Training Programme in Social Science Research Using Survey Data brought over 80 non-UCT graduate students, junior faculty, employees of Statistics South Africa and policy researchers from government to UCT for training using NIDS data. 

We celebrate the maturing of the NIDS project into a national research asset and we were delighted to learn in late February 2014 that SALDRU will run Wave 4 of NIDS on behalf of the South African government.

Murray Leibbrandt
Director of SALDRU

Top story: Launch of NIDS wave 3 data

The NIDS Wave 3 official launch, hosted by the National Planning Commission, was opened by the Planning Minister, Trevor Manuel, on the 3rd of December 2013. The event showcased the depth and flexibility of the NIDS panel data. The audience included government representatives, NGOs, researchers and press.
Discussion Papers
A number of Discussion Papers have been written, and were presented at the launch:

A summary of these discussion papers was published in the Wave 3 launch overview brochure available here
The Data
During the production of the wave 3 data, certain information came to the fore that required changes to the wave 1 and wave 2 data sets. This includes data from respondents who were interviewed in wave 3 who had not been located in wave 2, as well as the addition of new variables. Some of the changes necessitated a recalculation of the weights, and the weights were also calibrated to the latest mid-year population estimates. As such, we strongly recommend that all users download the latest wave 1 and wave 2 data sets in addition to wave 3, especially if all 3 data sets will be used in conjunction. The data can be accessed from the following links:

The new SALDRU website

SALDRU has launched its new website, available at Please have a look! The website links to SALDRU's Publications Repository, openSALDRU, where all of SALDRU's working papers can be found and downloaded. Over time, links to journal articles from SALDRU researchers, associates and affiliates will be added to the site. If you fall into one of these categories of SALDRUpians and don't see your latest work on the site, please let Clare Hofmeyr know.

Training Courses

UCT Summer Training Programme in Social Science Research Using Survey Data
6-17 January 2014

SALDRU ran its 16th annual Summer Training Programme in January. As in previous years the course was heavily oversubscribed. 79 participants attended the training, coming from a wide range of backgrounds including graduate programmes across the country and from elsewhere on the continent, Stats SA, parliament and various government departments. The course will run every year into the foreseeable future, and is offered free of charge. Applications open in early August. Should you wish to be notified when applications open, please contact Clare Hofmeyr.

Upcoming courses

A number of courses offered jointly by DataFirst and SALDRU are coming up in June and July:

Understanding Complex Social Survey Data
UCT | 23-27 June

Measuring Economic Welfare
UCT | 30 June - 11 July  

Understanding Panel Survey Data
UCT | 14-18 July

Statistical Analysis of Census and Survey Data using Stata
University of Ghana, Accra | 21 July - 1 August

Please see here for more information and how to apply


Highlighted working papers

Randomised trials for policy: A review of the external validity of treatment effects
Sean Muller 

Rural livelihoods in South Africa
Reza Che Daniels, Andrew Partridge, Dineo Kekana and Sibongile Musundwa

Food expenditure patterns in South Africa: Evidence from the NIDS
Vukile Mhlongo and Reza Che Daniels

Mobility and inequality in the first three waves of NIDS
Arden Finn and Murray Leibbrandt

School enrolment and the Child Support Grant: Evidence from South Africa
Katherine Eyal and Ingrid Woolard

Earnings volatility in South Africa
Vimal Ranchhod

Unemployment and household formation
Amina Ebrahim, Ingrid Woolard and Murray Leibbrandt

Educational expenditure in South Africa: Evidence from the National Income Dynamics Study
Nicola Branson, Dineo Kekana and David Lam

Inequality, social sanctions and cooperation within South African fishing
Martine Visser and Justine Burns

Genuine fakes: The prevalence and implications of fieldworker fraud in a large South African survey
Arden Finn and Vimal Ranchhod

For a full list of all SALDRU working papers, please see here.

Highlighted journal articles

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

Different dimensions of HIV-related stigma may have opposite effects on HIV testing: Evidence among young men and women in South Africa
Brendan Maughan-Brown and Laura Nyblade 

Measuring changes in the illicit cigarette market using government revenue data: The example of South Africa
Corne van Walbeek

Who is taking up voluntary medical male circumcision? Early evidence from Tanzania 
Elizabeth Gummerson, Brendan Maughan-Brown and Atheendar Venkataramani

A special edition of Development Southern Africa was released in January 2014. It showcases the depth and flexibility of the NIDS data. Highlighted articles from the edition are shown below. For a full list, please see here.

Income mobility in a high-inequality society: Evidence from the first two waves of the National Income Dynamics Study
Arden Finn, Murray Leibbrandt and James Levinsohn

Mortality in South Africa: Socio-economic profile and association with self-reported health
Cally Ardington and Boingotlo Gasealahwe

Wealth data quality in the National Income Dynamics Study
Reza Che Daniels, Arden Finn and Sibongile Musundwa

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


Special J-PAL/SALDRU seminar
Joshua Angrist
In a Small Moment: Class Size and Moral Hazard in the Mezzogiorno

Monday 26 May 2014, 4pm
Lecture Theatre 1, Ground Floor, Economics Building, Middle Campus.

Joshua Angrist, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT and a Research Associate in the NBER's programs on Children, Education, and Labor Studies, will be presenting a special seminar on one of his papers on Monday the 26th May in the School of Economics. Angrist is a world-renowned economist whose meticulous microeconometric and experimental methods have influenced scholars for two decades. He will be talking to us about the role of class size on schooling achievement and the channels through which this relationship works in schools in southern Italy.

Poverty & Inequality Initiative Seminar Series
On the last Wednesday each month, SALDRU's usual seminar slot will be co-hosted by the Poverty & Inequality Initiative. The seminar will be used to present work in the project. On 2 April 2014, Murray Leibbrandt introduced the project. The second seminar, on 30 April 2014, featured a panel discussion on the question of whether our economics and sociology curricula are equipping our graduates to engage with the challenges related to poverty and inequality.  For more information and upcoming seminars, please contact Haajirah Esau.  
SALDRU researcher, Brendan Maughan-Brown, receives NRF Research Career Award Fellowship

We would like to congratulate Dr Brendan Maughan-Brown, researcher at SALDRU, for receiving an NRF Research Career Award Fellowship (RCAF). The RCAF provides funding for 5-year research projects with the aim to create the opportunity for senior post-doctoral researchers to strengthen their research track record in their chosen research area and to establish themselves as independent researchers. Brendan’s project will explore the acceptability and feasibility of using conditional economic incentives to improve the proportion of individuals diagnosed HIV positive that initiate antiretroviral therapy.

Visiting Professor, Eddy van Doorslaer from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam

Eddy Van Doorslaer is a Professor of Health Economics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He holds a joint appointment at the Erasmus School of Economics and the Institute of Health Policy and Management and is a Research fellow of the Tinbergen Institute. He has published widely on the measurement of equity in health and health care, with many applications in high, low and middle income countries.  Recently, much of his research has focused on the impact evaluation of health insurance reforms in Asian countries. He visited the University of Cape Town from February to April 2014.

SALDRU associate, Reza Daniels, wins Financial Times and World Bank prizes

We would like to congratulate Dr Reza Daniels, Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics at UCT and SALDRU Associate, for receiving two prestigious awards this year. The first award was the Financial Times - Institute for Economic Thinking (INET) prize which allowed him to attend the recent INET conference in Canada. There were over 600 applications from more than 100 countries, and Reza was one of only 7 individuals who won this prize. Reza also won the World Bank Young African Scholar award, giving him the opportunity to present one of his papers at the upcoming International Economic Association (IEA) conference taking place in June in Amman, Jordan. 

In the media

Africa: Rising Tide - Is growth in emerging economies good for the United States?

Lawrence Edwards and Robert Lawrence | 18 March 2014
South Africa has proudly joined the BRICS, the most dynamic part of the world economy. In doing so, South Africa hopes to tap into these growing emerging markets and sources of investment, as well as work towards the creation of alternative financial institutions to, for example, the World Bank. But the strong performance of the BRICS over the past decade, and forecasts that it could be sustained in the decades ahead, does not meet similar acclaim in all quarters, especially the United States. Read more...

Having a matric helps you get ahead

IOL News | 12 March 2014
You are more likely to find a job and earn a better salary if you finish matric rather than drop out in Grade 11, according to a study by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit at UCT. The researchers looked at 17 years of data from national household surveys from 1994 to 2010. They then compared the wage and employment information of birth cohorts - starting with people born in 1944 - to estimate changes in wage and employment returns on education. They found that more pupils were matriculating. 
Rethinking the household: the impacts of transfers

World Bank Blog | 26 February 2014
Two weeks ago, I blogged about some productive impacts of cash transfer programs. For these effects, as well as the myriad other blog posts and papers on this topic out there, a key point is that the benefits of these transfers extend well beyond the actual individual recipient of the transfer. But what if we entertain the possibility that those around the direct beneficiary are actually a shifting population, and what's more, a population that is shifting in direct response to the transfer? This raises significant issues for how we think about measuring the benefits of these transfers. A recent paper by Amar Hamoudi and Duncan Thomas gives us some evidence as to why this might be an issue using the South African Old Age Pension and findings from Ardington et al. (2013) are used to support this argument. Read more...

Econ3x3 briefs

Enforcement and compliance: The case of minimum wages and mandatory contracts for domestic workers

Taryn Dinkelman, Vimal Ranchhod and Clare Hofmeyr 


SALDRU seminars take place on Wednesdays at 13.00 in the 4th floor SAB Seminar Room in the School of Economics on Middle Campus. Please contact Clare Hofmeyr if you would like to be included in the mailing list or have queries regarding previous seminars

Recent presentations included:

Rising inequalities in income and health in China: Who is left behind?
Eddy van Doorslaer

An examination of subnational growth in Nigeria: 1999-2012
Nonso Obikili

Why more attention to functional inequality is warranted
Rolph van der Hoeven

Marikana, Migrants & Mining: Some Reflections
Francis Wilson

The effect of non-personnel spending on educational outcomes
Miquel Pellicer

Economic Impacts of Migration in South Africa
Julia Garlick

Can vouchers deliver? The impact of subsidies on the utilization of maternal health care in Cambodia
Eddy van Doorslaer

Informal Sector Enterprises in urban townships in South Africa: An empirical description
Vimal Ranchhod

Jobs come and go but the family will always be there
Alessio Gaggero

Do our curricula equip our graduates with the ability to engage with challenges around poverty and inequality?
Poverty and Inequality Initiative Panel

Have workers been winners or losers in the post-Apartheid labour market?
Jeremy Seekings
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