Professor Haroon Bhorat

Professor Haroon Bhorat

Director, DPRU, School of Economics, UCT   

Expertise: Labour Economics, Poverty, Income Distribution, Inclusive Growth, Minimum Wages​

Haroon Bhorat is Professor of Economics and Director of the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

His research interests cover labour economics, poverty and income distribution. He has co-authored two books on labour market and poverty issues in South Africa, and has published more than 150 academic journal articles, book chapters and working papers. He recently co-edited The Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa (with Alan Hirsch, Ravi Kanbur and Mthuli Ncube). 
Prof Bhorat has his PhD in Economics through Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Cornell University research fellow.

Prof Bhorat holds the highly prestigious National Research Chair under the theme of Economic Growth, Poverty and Inequality: Exploring the Interactions for South Africa.

He is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution affiliated to the Global Economy and Development Program, and the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI), and a Research Fellow at IZA, the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn. Prof Bhorat consults with international organizations such as the ILO, the UNDP, the World Bank, Ratings Agencies and emerging market fund managers.  He is a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Board of the Commission on Global Poverty. He is currently a member of the United Nations, World Health Organisation’s High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. He was also a member of the UN Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP), and was Head of Research for the UN’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Professor Bhorat has undertaken extensive work for several South African government departments – most notably the South African Department of Labour, the Presidency and the National Treasury.  He is a Director on the Board of the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (WESGRO), a member of the Statistics Council, Statistics South Africa, and he sits on the South African Journal of Economics Editorial Board.

Haroon has served on a number of government research advisory panels. He was recently appointed an Advisor on the South African Parliament’s High Level Panel on Acceleration of change and transformation. He was an economic advisor to the former Minister of Finance, and former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, formally serving on the Presidential Economic Advisory Panel.

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Latest Research & Publications:


  1. Africa's Lions: Growth Traps and Opportunities for the Continent's Six Dominant Economies. Brookings Press, FORTHCOMING. (Co-edited Tarp, F.)
  2. Book: Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa. Oxford University Press. 2014. (Co-edited with Hirsch, A., Kanbur, R. and Ncube, M.)

Book chapters

  1. Demographic, employment, and wage trends in South Africa. In: Africa's Lions: Growth Traps and Opportunities for the Continent's Six Dominant Economies, Brookings Press. Co-edited with Finn Tarp. FORTHCOMING. (Co-authored with Naidoo, K., Oosthuizen, M. and Pillay, K.)
  2. Policy co-ordination and growth traps in a middle-income country setting: The case of South Africa. In: The Practice of Industrial Policy, Oxford University Press.  Edited by John Page and Finn Tarp. FORTHCOMING. (Co-authored with Cassim, A. and Hirsch, A.)
  3. Trade Unions in an Emerging Economy: The Case of South Africa. In: The Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics, 2014. Edited by Justin Lin & Celestin Monga. FORTHCOMING. (Co-authored with Naidoo, K. and Yu, D.)
  4. Growth, Employment Creation and Poverty Reduction: An Overview Evidence and Possible Applications to Africa. In: Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa: Current and Emerging Issues, Oxford University Press 2014. Edited by Erik Thorbecke and Andy McKay. FORTHCOMING. 
  5. Africa’s Jobs Challenge. In: Africa at a Fork in the Road: Taking Off or Disappointment Once Again?, e-book edited by E. Zedillo, O. Cattaneo and H. Wheeler.  Published by the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Chapter 9, pp. 145-162. (Co-authored with Naidoo, K.)

Refereed Journal Articles

  1. Higher Education, Employment, and Economic Growth: Exploring the interactions. Development Southern Africa, LMIP Special Issue. FORTHCOMING. (Co-authored with Cassim, A. and Tseng, D.)
  2. Minimum Wages and Youth: The Case of South Africa.  Journal of African Economies. Vol. 25, AERC Supplement 1, pp. i61–i102​. (Co-authored with Cassim, A., Kanbur, R., Stanwix, B. & Yu, D.)
  3. Partial Minimum Wage Compliance. IZA Journal of Labor & Development (2015) November, 4(18). (Co-authored with Kanbur, R. and Stanwix, B.)
  4. Estimating the Impact of Minimum Wages on Employment, Wages, and Non-wage Benefits: The Case of Agriculture in South Africa. American Journal of Agricultural Economics (2014) October, 96(5): 1402–1419 (Co-authored with Kanbur, R. and Stanwix, B.)
  5. Pro-poor growth and social protection in South Africa: Exploring the interactions, Development Southern Africa, 31(2), 2014, pp. 219-240. (Co-authored with Tseng, D. and Stanwix, B.)

​​Collaborative Working Papers

  1. Minimum Wages in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Primer, IZA Discussion Paper Series IZA DP No. 9204, July 2015 (Co-authored with Kanbur, R. and Stanwix, B.)​​
  2. Nonincome welfare and inclusive growth in South Africa, Brookings Institution, Africa Growth Initiative Working Paper #18, March 2015 (Co-authored Stanwix, B. and Yu, D.)​
  3. Policy co-ordination and growth traps in a middle-income country setting: The case of South Africa, UNU-WIDER Working Paper: WP/2014/155, (Co-authored with Cassim, A. and Hirsch, A.)