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About the DPRU

The Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) has been actively engaged in policy-relevant research since 1990, establishing itself as one of South Africa’s premier economic policy research institutions in the fields of labour markets, poverty and inequality. The Unit’s research feeds into policy decisions and pronouncements at the highest level, including Cabinet memoranda, State of the Nation Addresses and legislation, while our research findings are regularly featured in the print and electronic media.

Much of the DPRU’s work derives from government departments at national and provincial level, while the Unit also receives funding from international and multilateral agencies. In particular, the DPRU has completed numerous research projects at the national level for National Treasury, the Presidency, and the Departments of Labour, Social Development, Education and Trade and Industry, as well as for various departments in the Western Cape Provincial Government.

As part of our engagement in the policy arena, the DPRU has hosted highly successful conferences aimed at fostering greater interaction between researchers and policymakers. The Unit publishes high quality journal articles, as well as a Working Paper and a Policy Brief series. DPRU staff members also undertake limited teaching and graduate supervision.

Apart from its research and capacity building activities, the DPRU is engaged in managing: The Employment Promotion Programme (EPP), an initiative of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), aimed at providing an enabling policy environment in South Africa for employment creation and poverty reduction in South Africa; and Counting Women’s Work (CWW) – a multi-country research effort incorporating unpaid work into the National Transfer Accounts framework. 

The DPRU is also the selected South African partner institution of the African Growth Initiative (AGI), in partnership with the Brookings Institution in the United States. This partnership ensures the DPRU’s research reach a broader international policymaking audience.

The DPRU's Director, Professor Haroon Bhorat, holds the NRF Research Chair in Economic Growth, Poverty and Inequality. This has facilitated the awarding of postgraduate bursaries and fellowships broadly within the DPRU’s main areas of interest to Economics students at the University.