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Completed Projects

The DPRU’s suite of completed research projects ranges from multi-country collaboration on minimum wages and enforcement, to the efficiency and effectiveness of the economy’s dispute resolution system and the role of bargaining councils in the labour market. The resulting body of new and innovative policy work has arguably made significant advances in our understandings of the South African labour market.

Betrayal of the Promise: How South Africa is Being Stolen

The DPRU worked together with a number of academics, under the banner of the State Capacity Research Group, to produce a report on State Capture in South Africa, published in mid-2017. This report, entitled Betrayal of the Promise: How South Africa is Being Stolen, provided a first example of inter-disciplinary academic analysis focused on the emerging Shadow State and institutionalised corruption in the country, purposefully targeted at a non-academic audience. The report consolidated available information on state capture and provided an academic framework for understanding the looting of State funds by the Gupta’s and their political associates.  
One of the key aims of the research was/is to change the popular discourse from a focus on corruption, to a focus on the systemic nature of state capture as the political project of a well-organised network that strives to manage what we call the symbiotic relationship between the constitutional state and the shadow state. The research team have meticulously mapped the deals that have taken place, identified the key players, and discussed the modus operandi for commandeering control of state institutions and parastatals. This report was launched and presented at a variety of both university-hosted and non-university-led forums, as well as at well-attended public seminars and panel discussion events. The findings were also widely discussed in the broadcast media (on both radio and television), and covered by the print media through press releases and op-eds. 
Project Outputs: 
Year Completed: 2017

Targeting Rules for Student Financial Aid: Suggested Guidelines for NSFAS 
and 
Revision of the Parameters of the NSFAS Means Test – Recommendations on Household Allowances

The purpose was to update the test NSFAS uses to award funding, and to decide the level of funding, to students who apply to them for financial aid. We delivered two reports; one related to the proxy test, the other related to the means test and the household allowances. These tests needed to be updated due to concerns about poor targeting. We submitted a research report that highlighted a few different options for the test, as a way to shortcut the process while trying to balance targeting precision, without making the administrative burden unduly heavy. 

In both reports, we used household survey data and statistical methods to reach our conclusions. The DPRU’s research presented in the first report aimed to find the proxies that best identify the genuinely poor, and to combine these proxies in a useful way that is not too administratively burdensome, or easy for applicants to cheat. The objective was to improve the targeting of the proxy round, and thereby reduce ‘leakage’. The hope was that more funding would be left over for the means test round, so that financial aid could then be distributed more efficiently across more students at more appropriate levels, to their level of need. The second report focussed on improving the formula for the size of the funding award, by updating what are called ‘household allowances’. These were out of date and needed to be increased in order to properly meet student needs. 

Funder: National Student Financial Aid  scheme 
Project Outputs:  Reports delivered to funder.
Year Completed: 2017

Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth

REDI 3x3: The DPRU is responsible for the Inclusive Growth theme, and we are involved in an infrastructure data project (related to the income and expenditure surveys), and papers covering the informal economy, and risk mitigation through micro-insurance, asset poverty and other gaps in current research.
Funder: National Treasury through SALDRU 
Project Outputs: Bhorat, H. and Naidoo, K. (2017). Exploring the relationship between crime-related business insurance and informal firms’ performance: a South African case study. REDI3x3 Working paper #25; February 2017.
Year Completed: 2016

Africa Growth Initiative: Macro Project Phase 2: Exchange Rates, Employment and Earnings

The Real Exchange Rate and Sectorial Employment in South Africa.
Funder: The African Growth Initiative (AGI) at the Brookings Institution
Project Outputs: Working Paper 201404
Year Completed: 2014

Africa Growth Initiative 3: Inflation inequality in South Africa

Understanding differences across households and through inflation cycles.
Funder: The African Growth Initiative (AGI) at the Brookings Institution
Project Output: Working Paper 13/158
Year Completed: 2013

Africa Growth Initiative 2: Analysis of the claims on the UIF

Unemployment Insurance in South Africa: A Descriptive Overview of Claimants and Claims, and the Newly Unemployed and the UIF Take-up Rate in the South African Labour Market.
Funder: The African Growth Initiative (AGI) at the Brookings Institution
Project Output: b. Working Paper 12/147
Year Completed: 2013

Africa Growth Initiative 1: Do Industrial Disputes Reduce Employment? Evidence from South Africa

Measuring employment protection as a function of the quantity and efficiency parameters of the country’s dispute resolution body – the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Funder: The African Growth Initiative (AGI) at the Brookings Institution
Year Completed: 2013

EPP: South African Jobs Losses during the Global Recession

The research is structured as an overview of both international and local labour market changes during the global recession.
Funder: The Employment Promotion Programme (EPP)
Project Output:  Project Report
Year Completed: 2013

EPP: Community Work Programme

The CWP is a government intervention that provides a basic level of income security through part-time work in communities with high unemployment levels. Government aims to scale up CWP to meet a target of 1 million job opportunities by March 2014.
Funder: The Employment Promotion Programme (EPP)
Project Output: Project Report
Year Completed: 2013

Employment Promotion Programme (EPP) Phase Three: FACTSHEETS

Monitoring the Performance of the South African Labour Market.
Funder: The Employment Promotion Programme (EPP)
Project Output: Factsheets
Year Completed: 2013

Minimum wage legislation, enforcement and labour outcomes: Argentina, Costa Rice and South Africa

Understanding and measuring the enforcement of minimum wage laws: the case of SA.
Funder: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Project Output: a. Working Paper 12/149
Project Output: b. Journal Article
Project Output: c. Journal Article
Project Output: d. Policy Brief 13/29
Project Output: e. Journal Article
Year Completed: 2013

The Enforcement of Minimum Wage Laws: The Case of Bargaining Councils in South Africa

Institutional Wage Effects: Revisiting Union and Bargaining Council Wage Premia in South Africa.
Funder: International Labour Organisation (ILO)
Project Output: a. Journal Article
Project Output: b. Journal Article
Year Completed: 2012

Municipal Economic Review & Outlook (MERO)

The MERO report is a high profile Provincial Treasury project.  The MERO aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the recent economic performance of and outlook for the Western Cape economy at District / Municipal level. As such it should be viewed as a companion study to its provincial counterpart, the Provincial Economic Review and Outlook (PERO), whilst it also complements and reinforces several other recent studies that have analysed the district and municipal economies within the Western Cape Province. The Province hires the DPRU economist team to model data, that is not publically available, contributing to the Labour Market section of the report.
Funder: Provincial Government of the Western Cape: Treasury
Project Outputs:

Provincial Economic Review & Outlook (PERO)

Annual research report which provides an objective review and analysis of past and estimated future economic growth and socio-economic development of the Western Cape. The DPRU has been involved in the PERO publication since 2005, and has annually contributed a chapter on the provincial labour market.
Funder: Provincial Government of the Western Cape: Treasury
Project Outputs:

Low Paid Work in South Africa

This research focuses specifically on low pay among workers in wage employment over the period 2001 to 2007.
Funder: ILO (the ILO's Conditions of Work and Employment Programme)
Project Output: a. Journal Article
Year Completed: 2012