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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 papers, Journal articlesRecent events, and Seminars. If you would prefer not to receive these newsletters in the future, you can unsubscribe here.

From the Director's desk
The last few months SALDRU has been abuzz. This newsletter profiles the Carnegie conference. Two parallel processes are worthy of special mention. With colleagues in DataFirst and with funding from the University of Cape Town we have completed a project that digitises and makes publicly available the papers from the Carnegie Two conference of 1984 (view the papers here). At the time, the conference provided a seminal marshalling of evidence on the destructive consequences of apartheid and, today, the collection provides a detailed reminder that this legacy continues to constrain poverty alleviation efforts in this country. In an appropriate response, a research programme was launched at the recent conference on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth. Over the next three years the project will galvanise a national research campaign and dialogue in support of effective policy making in these key areas. The project is funded by the National Treasury and it is a privilege for SALDRU to manage this project.

Murray Leibbrandt
Director of SALDRU

Top story: 
Towards Carnegie III
Strategies to Overcome Poverty & Inequality

The 'Towards Carnegie III' Conference took place from 3 - 7 September and was a resounding success, due to the active participation of three different groups from across South Africa. First, there was significant input from government: the conference took place in response to a request by the National Planning Commission, and many members of government were present during the week, including NPC Chairperson, Minister Trevor Manuel, and Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe. Secondly, a large number of NGOs were represented, sharing stories of what it means to be poor in South Africa today and the ways in which they are tackling poverty using imagination, hard work and limited resources. Thirdly and finally, the response from the academic sphere far surpassed expectations, with more than 350 papers submitted from 19 universities across South Africa.

At the conference, SALDRU’s researchers participated in many general sessions and led sessions on the National Income Dynamics Study, the use of data for evidence-based policy making and the rigorous evaluation of policy impact. At a special session of the conference, a three-year national research project on employment, income distribution and inclusive growth was launched. See here for more information on this project.

For more information on the conference including news articles, blog posts and podcasts, please visit the Carnegie3 website. The conference was also covered extensively on

Highlighted papers

Gender and Risk Taking in the Classroom
Justine Burns, Simon Halliday and Malcolm Keswell
Inequality Traps and Human Capital Accumulation in South Africa
Miquel Pellicer and Vimal Ranchhod
Econometric methods and Reichenbach's principle 
Sean Muller


A new research initiative to conduct randomised impact evaluations in several African countries on ways to improve the delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene services to the urban poor will be coordinated by J-PAL Africa within SALDRU in conjunction with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, starting with a matchmaking conference between international experts, local researchers and implementing organisations in January 2013. Read more on


What's on

A number of courses are taking place in January:

Summer Training Programme in Social Science Research using Survey Data

7 - 18 January 2013
Applications are now open. To apply, please fill out the online form. More information on the course is available here. Applications close on 15 October 2012.

NIDS Panel Data Course
14 - 18 January 2013
Applications are not yet open but will be soon; please keep an eye on the 
NIDS website. Information on NIDS training programmes is available here.

J-PAL Africa Executive Education
14 - 18 January 2013
J-PAL Africa will be running their third annual Executive Education course on evaluating social programmes through the use of randomised control trials. Information on the course is available here; to apply, please fill out the online form. Registration closes on 22 October 2012.

Popular writing

SA could face "Arab Spring'

The window of opportunity to deal with the crisis of poverty and inequality will not last forever, UCT acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Francis Wilson warned. Wilson said urgent action was needed to turn "the big ship" of poverty around. Read the article.

Inequality in South Africa and Brazil:  Can we trust the numbers?

Brazil and South Africa have generally been regarded as the two most unequal societies in the world. In recent years, the level of inequality in Brazil is reported to have fallen. CDE asked Professor Murray Leibbrandt and Arden Finn of SALDRU to assess the extent to which the decline in Brazilian inequality was real or reflected a change in reporting practices. They concluded that the decline in Brazilian inequality appears to be real. Read the publication.

Recent events

Martin Wittenberg appointed as full professor

To mark his appointment to professor, Martin Wittenberg gave his inaugural address on 8 August 2012, titled Economics and Transformation: Measurement, Models, Maths and Myths. Watch the video or download the text of Martin's speech.

Analysis of Complex Sample Surveys using Stata
16 - 20 July 2012
Aimed at post-graduate students and researchers and taught by Martin Wittenberg and Cally Ardington, this advanced course covered the theory of weighting, clustering and stratification used in complex sample surveys. The course also discussed the implementation of social surveys and introduced survey analysis tools available in Stata.

NIDS Panel Data Course
2 - 6 July 2012

This five day course introduced participants to Waves 1 and 2 of the NIDS panel data, and covered techniques specific to the analysis of panel (or longitudinal) data. The course will be run again in January and is mentioned above under “What’s on”.

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