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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 briefsworking papershighlighted journal articlesbook chapters and more. If you would prefer not to receive these newsletters in the future, you can unsubscribe here.

From the Director's desk
SALDRU aspires to do best-practice research that can be used in the alleviation of poverty and inequality. It is a great pleasure to report that our senior researchers are being asked to take on leadership roles at the national and university level that build on this approach and knowledge. At the same time, the evidence from academic promotions, awards and NRF ratings makes it clear that the next generation of young researchers are successfully engaging with our mandate.

Murray Leibbrandt
Director of SALDRU

Top story: SALDRU Director, Murray Leibbrandt, appointed as Pro Vice-Chancellor of UCT's Poverty and Inequality Initiative

In mid-August, Professor Murray Leibbrandt was appointed as the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Poverty and Inequality Initiative (PII). The initiative's objective is to maximise the university's collective contribution in the crucial areas of poverty and inequality alleviation. Professor Leibbrandt is eager to use his appointment to ensure that South Africa gets the maximum benefit from the excellent research being produced by the academic community at UCT. Through his work with the research team at SALDRU, he has learnt that it requires commitment to do policy engagement - but that such processes increase the usefulness and potential impact of the research. Read more of his interview, or see here for additional information on his appointment.


NIDS Wave 3 Data Released

The NIDS Wave 3 dataset is available as part of their new 2013 release. Accompanying the data are new versions of both Wave 1 and Wave 2 datasets. Visit for more information.


Ingrid Woolard appointed to Tax Review Committee

SALDRU Research Associate, Ingrid Woolard, has been appointed by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to serve as a member of the Tax Review Committee to be chaired by Judge Dennis Davis.  The Committee has a broad mandate to look at all taxes with a view to promoting inclusive growth, employment, development and fiscal sustainability. Read the article at, or access more detail on the SARS website.


Econ3x3 Briefs

The matric certificate is still valuable in the labour market
Clare Hofmeyr, Nicola Branson, Murray Leibbrandt, Cally Ardington and David Lam

The significant decline in poverty in its many dimensions since 1993
Arden Finn, Murray Leibbrandt and Ingrid Woolard

How do the non-searching unemployed feel about their situation?On the definition of unemployment
Neil Lloyd and Murray Leibbrandt


Recent working papers


Martin Wittenberg and Farah Pirouz
Rhys Jenkins and Lawrence Edwards
Brendan Maughan-Brown, Susan Godlonton, Rebecca Thornton and Atheendar Venkataramani
Nicola Branson, Cally Ardington, David Lam and Murray Leibbrandt
Lloyd Grieger, April Williamson, Murray Leibbrandt and Jim Levinsohn



Vimal Ranchhod receives Y1 rating from the NRF

We would like to congratulate Dr Vimal Ranchhod, Associate Professor in SALDRU, for receiving a rating of Y1 from the NRF. This takes the count of Y1-rated researchers within SALDRU to 3. This rating is given to young researchers (40 or younger), who have held their doctorate for less than five years at the time of application, and who are recognised as having the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five-year period after evaluation, based on their performance and productivity as researchers during their doctoral studies and/or early post-doctoral careers.


SALDRU is proud to announce that two of its Research Associates, Ingrid Woolard and Reza Daniels, have recently received ad hom promotions. Reza has been promoted from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer and Ingrid has been promoted from Associate Professor to full Professor. Congratulations Reza and Ingrid!

SALDRU researcher awarded fellowship to Brown University
Brendan Maughan-Brown has been awarded a fellowship for a period of residency and research at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island granted by the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI). Brendan will be in the United States from September to November 2013. During his stay he will be working with Professor Mark Lurie and other Brown faculty on a project titled “Understanding HIV risk factors for young African women.

In the media

Race and Space in Cape Town
12 September | iol news

Nearly 20 years after the end of apartheid, Cape Town is still a racially divided city – but there are areas of remarkable transformation. Maps created by Adrian Frith, a software developer and employee of the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) at UCT, offer a representation of who lives where in seven South African cities. Using data from Census 2001 and 2011 and focusing on Cape Town, it is clear that the dynamics of race and space have not changed much during the first decade of the 21st century. While most of the city remains highly segregated by race, there are some areas where integration is progressing, namely Rondebosch East, Pinelands and Kensington. Read more or see the maps in greater detail here.

Grants encourage liberation, not dependence
23 August | BD Live
Once we acknowledge that mass unemployment is permanent, 
it becomes clear that universal welfare is urgently necessary. Not only is it necessary, it will actually bring life, not idleness, to the worlds of the South 
African poor. University of Cape Town economist Cally Ardington and her colleagues have recently found that young men at a research site in KwaZulu-Natal are significantly more likely to become labour migrants when someone in their household becomes age-eligible for the old-age pension. This puts paid to the stale old mantra that people stop looking for work when their families receive welfare. Read more of the article or access the working paper.

Matric still worth the effort to increase job chances

21 October | BD Live

As matric students gear up to start their final exams next week, a new study has found that the matric certificate is still worth getting and that, even though it might not be as valuable as it was, it still increases one’s job chances and earnings.
The research brief, written by a group of mainly University of Cape Town economists, was published last week on the online policy forum Econ3x3. It comes amid growing youth unemployment, which has sparked claims that the matric certificate no longer has much value in the job market. Read more of the article or access the working paper.

On the 21st October, Clare Hofmeyr talked to Africa Melane on 567 Cape Talk radio about the value of the matric certificate in the job market. Listen to the interview.


Training Courses

Upcoming: UCT Summer Training Programme in Social Science Research using Survey Data 

The 16th annual Summer Training Programme will be held from the 6th - 17th January, 2014. The course is provided free of charge to all participants. More information is available here. Applications closed on 25 October; successful applicants will be notified 8 November. Queries can be directed to Clare Hofmeyr.

July 2013: STATA training workshop at the University of Ghana

Following successful workshops at the University of Cape Coast in 2011 and 2012, staff and students from SALDRU, UCT and the University of Michigan joined staff from the University of Ghana to teach a two-week STATA workshop in Accra. The workshop ran from 22 July - 2 August and included 40 Ghanaian participants from a wide range of backgrounds. The course is based on material used in the two-week Summer Training Programme run by SALDRU each January, but tailored to Ghana by using local datasets.


The SALDRU seminar series recently featured the following presentations:

Tax(i)ing the poor- public transport provision in South Africa
Andrew Kerr
Does Promoting School Attendance Reduce Child Labour? Evidence from Burkina Faso’s BRIGHT Project
Jacob de Hoop
Testing the Effectiveness of Cellphone Data Collection for Microenterprises in Africa
Kate Orkin
Family size of women and children during the demographic transition
David Lam

Rough Guide to Carnegie III
Francis Wilson

Seasonal credit constraints and agricultural labor supply: Evidence from Zambia
Kelsey Jack
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