Challenging inequalities through policy relevant academic research.


September 2020

Dear Friends,

Our September newsletter leads with an overview of some of the labour market research that we in SALDRU have been doing over the past six months. Applied empirical labour economics has been a strength of team SALDRU for several decades now, and it is wonderful to see some of the junior members of our team coming into their own with some excellent contributions.

The research that we synthesize was all based on new data from the NIDS-CRAM survey, a multi-university collaborative project that SALDRU has been heavily invested in since its inception. The SALDRU contribution to the partnership has been quite exceptional, and Reza Daniels as a Co-PI has received excellent support from Tim Brophy and Kim Ingle to deliver an invaluable dataset under trying circumstances. The second wave of NIDS-CRAM was released publically at a virtual launch on Wednesday, and featured speakers include Vimal Ranchhod who spoke on the Employment findings from Wave 2 of NIDS-CRAM.

In other news, Saldrupians continue with our outreach and dissemination activities. Andrew Donaldson gave a seminar at the African Development Bank, Cally Ardington wrote a media article on an educational evaluation that she has been working on, and Faaiqa Hartley was interviewed on SAfm radio. We also list two new youth-related publications; one on youth health and HIV treatment, and the other on youth’s emotional well-being during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Looking forward, the Siyaphambili team share information on a series of webinars that they will be hosting in October. They will share findings from post-school research in South Africa and reflect on what these findings mean for the related South African research agenda.

Best wishes,

Murray Leibbrandt
Director, SALDRU
Vimal Ranchhod
Deputy Director, SALDRU

The South African labour market during COVID-19

Image: Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.

Over the past few months, several Saldrupians have been involved in research on employment dynamics using the first two waves of the NIDS-CRAM survey, and a total of five related papers have been produced. Two papers were authored by Vimal Ranchhod and Reza Daniels, who profile the dynamics in the labour market between February and April, and then again for the period from April to June. Two similar but slightly different papers (see the Wave 1 paper and the Wave 2 paper) were authored by Saldrupians Rocco Zizzamia, Josh Budlender and Ihsaan Bassier, together with their co-author Ronak Jain. They also took their labour market analysis further by mapping from labour market dynamics to poverty dynamics. The final paper was written by Gabriel Espi-Sanchis, Murray Leibbrandt, and Vimal Ranchhod. They utilize the fact that the NIDS-CRAM sample was drawn from the long-running NIDS sample, and link data from individuals in the panel from 2008 to 2017 to the data for the same individuals in 2020. This allowed them to investigate how historical experiences in the labour market might correlate with differential degrees of vulnerability in the current moment. Read more for a brief synthesis of the key findings from these papers.

African Development Institute Seminar

Image: Wokandapix on Pixabay.

On 7-8 September Andrew Donaldson participated as a speaker in a seminar hosted by the African Development Institute of the African Development Bank on “Enhancing Resilience and Transparency in Public and Private Finance Management in the Post-COVID-19 World”. His briefing note for the seminar, draws lessons from South Africa’s public finance and budget management experience and the challenges of post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Read the briefing note.

SAFM interview with SA-TIED researchers

Image: Matt Botsford on Unsplash.

SAfm interviewed Faaiqa Hartley together with Southern Africa – Towards Inclusive Economic Development (SA-TIED) peers Amina Ebrahim and Mamiko Leolo. In conversation with Phemelo Motene, her three guests explain about the SA-TIED initiative and discuss the work that they do and some insights from this work. Listen to the interview or read about Faaiqa and her portion of the interview.

Reading with meaning: One programme showing positive impacts

Image: Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

This month Cally Ardington wrote an article which was published on News24 which explains preliminary findings from an evaluation of Funda Wande. Funda Wande is an organization that, in light of poor reading levels in South Africa, has created a course which trains teachers to teach reading for meaning in African languages. Read the article.


iSAY (incentives for South African youth): Stated preferences of young people living with HIV

High adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV is essential for achieving viral suppression and preventing HIV transmission. Yet adherence is suboptimal among adolescents who face unique adherence challenges. This study aimed to increase understanding of conditional economic incentives (CEIs) as a tool for improving HIV treatment adherence among adolescents. During 2017–2019, the authors conducted a mixed-methods discrete choice experiment in Cape Town to inform the optimal design of a CEI intervention for HIV treatment adherence among 10-to-19 year-olds. Results showed that an incentives programme had a high probability of acceptance; and that participants would prefer an incentive that is given in cash (versus fashion vouchers), available to previously adherent and non-adherent youth (instead of non-adherent only), and received at a clinic setting (instead of electronically). The lessons learned may be important when considering the use of incentives in other contexts and for other health-related behaviours. Access here.

Citation: Galárraga, O., Kuo, C., Mtukushe, B., Maughan-Brown, B., Harrison, A., & Hoare, J. (2020). iSAY (incentives for South African youth): Stated preferences of young people living with HIV. Social Science & Medicine, 113333.

Youth emotional well-being during the COVID-19-related lockdown in South Africa

This is the first working paper based on a recent survey of the state of youth well-being in South Africa during the COVID-19-related lockdown. The study assesses the prevalence of, and factors associated with symptoms of depression among young people age 18 – 35 years during the lockdown. Based on online survey data, the authors used the 10-item Centre for Epidemiological Studies on Depression Scale to establish the prevalence of, and factors associated with depressive symptoms. They found a 72% prevalence of such symptoms among participants, which is high and worrisome when compared to youth mental health results before COVID-19. Depressive symptoms were higher among those who were older, female, white, and those with higher education. Multivariate regression analysis shows that key factors associated with depressive symptoms were being female, being older, having higher education, being employed, offering family care, and residing in urban informal areas. Access here.

Citation: Mudiriza, G., De Lannoy, A. (2020). Youth emotional well-being during the COVID-19-related lockdown in South Africa. Cape Town: SALDRU, UCT. (SALDRU Working Paper No. 268).

For more SALDRU working papers, journal article contributions and policy briefs, please visit OpenSALDRU.

Siyaphambili October Webinar Series

Image: Alexandra Koch on Pixabay.

The Siyaphambili Post-school Research Group will be holding a series of three webinars this October. These webinars will share findings from post-school research in South Africa and reflect on what these findings mean for the measurement of post-schooling in South Africa and the sharing of data and research on post-schooling.

The topics of the webinars and links for details for each are:


SALDRU Seminars

Please note: In order to decrease risk and spread of the COVID-19, as well as aligning with the university's decision on minimising gatherings, all SALDRU seminars are cancelled until further notice.

For information about past and future seminars, click here. To subscribe to our seminar mailing list, click here.
The Daily Vox, 7 September
No data or support: the reality of learning through lockdown in South Africa’s post-school institutions

CNN Business, 25 September
South Africa has the world's worst youth unemployment. This job-matching site wants to change that
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