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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.

Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, Determinants, and Consequences

A groundbreaking United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), this study provides policy guidance to reduce income inequality in sub-Saharan Africa. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underscore the need to address broad inequalities in their quest to ‘leave no-one behind.’ UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa asserts that inequality levels, trends,determinants and consequences must be analyzed closely – producing a holistic policy approach which matches the integrated and indivisible nature of the 2030 agenda. It is only through addressing the challenge of inequality that progress towards achieving poverty reduction, to be specific, and the SDGs in general, can be accelerated.
Funder: UNDP RBA
Project Outputs: 
Book: Bhorat, H., Conceição, P., Cornia, G.A., and Odusola, A. (2017). Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, determinants and consequences. UNDP, New York. ISBN 978-92-1-126424-1 
Chapter 1: Introduction, Motivation and Overview (by Bhorat, H., Conceição, P., Cornia, G.A., and Odusola, A.)
Chapter 5: Understanding the Determinants of Africa’s Manufacturing Malaise (by Bhorat, H., Steenkamp, F. and Rooney, C.)
Chapter 6: Resource Dependence and Inequality in Africa: Impacts, Consequences and Potential Solutions (by Bhorat, H., Chelwa, G., Naidoo, K., and Stanwix, B.)
Chapter 8: Social Protection and Inequality in Africa (by Bhorat, H., Cassim, A., Ewinyu, A. and Steenkamp, F.)
Chapter 17: Conclusions and Policy Recommendations (by Bhorat, H., Conceição, P., Cornia, G.A., and Odusola, A.)
Presentations: Africa Economics Seminar Series – World Bank Africa Chief Economist’s Office (Washington DC, 14th November 2017) and Global Scholar Seminar Series – Brookings Institution (Washington DC, 15th November 2017)
Year Completed: 2018

The 4th Industrial Revolution

Rapid technological advances in robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning threaten many jobs, especially those in low-skilled sectors. In order to appropriately mitigate potential employment losses as a result of rapid technological advances (often referred to as the 4th Industrial Revolution), a greater understanding of the extent of the risks posed to employment by adoption of new technologies is required. The DPRU embarked on research with a key focus of understanding the implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution for employment in South Africa; Evaluating the opportunities and risks of the 4th Industrial Revolution; and examining the number of jobs at risk of automation in middle-income countries; and in South Africa.

Project Outputs: Papers expected 2019
Year Completed: 2018

Labour Regulation in South Africa – Strike Activity and Minimum Wages

The project is focused on two interlinked labour market issues in the South African economy, namely that of the size, shape and consequence of strike activity in the South African economy, and secondly, the economic consequences of sectoral minimum wage laws and the extent of minimum wage violation. This first component hopes to inject a more objective and informative understanding around the nature of strikes and strike activity in South Africa. In terms of the second component of the research agenda, three core areas arise: Firstly, the project will describe and estimate the medium- to longer-run effects of South Africa’s minimum wage laws. Secondly, using a new technique for measuring minimum wage violation, the researchers hope to examine the evolution of minimum wage violation, particularly in relation to minimum wage adjustments over time. Finally, an area surprisingly overlooked in this literature, is that focusing on the impact of minimum wage legislation on household poverty levels.
Project Outputs: Papers expected in 2019.

Low Income Countries (LIC) in SubSaharan Africa

The paucity of LIC labour market data, its varying quality, and the lack of baseline information makes it essential to provide a broad descriptive and basic econometric overview of a sample of LIC labour markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, we developed a series of papers that focus on a sample of four African LICs: Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Tanzania, describing and profiling their labour market in a systematic and consistent way.

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