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 in the School 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 and co-edited a number of books on labour market and poverty issues in Africa, including co-editing The Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa. Haroon has published more than 150 academic journal articles, book chapters and working papers. He was recently appointed to the editorial advisory board of the World Bank Economic Review.

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

Haroon is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution affiliated to the Global Economy and Development Program, and the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI). He is also a Research Fellow at IZA, the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).  He is a member of the Board of the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), and was recently appointed to the National Research Foundation (NRF) Board.

Haroon consults with international organizations such as the ILO, the UNDP, the World Bank, Ratings Agencies and emerging market fund managers. He was a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Board of the Commission on Global Poverty as well as a member of the Program Committee of the 2017 International Economic Association (IEA) World Congress. He is on the Advisory Committee of the joint United Nations and World Bank Policy Study on the role of Development in the Prevention of Violent Conflict. He is also a member of the UN/WHO’s High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. Haroon previously served as 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.

Haroon has undertaken extensive work for several South African government departments – most notably the South African Department of Labour, the Presidency and the National Treasury. Haroon 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 two past Ministers of Finance, and previous Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, formally serving on the Presidential Economic Advisory Panel.

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Latest Research & Publications:

Refereed Journals 

  1. Minimum wages in sub-Saharan Africa: A primer. The World Bank Research Observer , 32(1), February 2017. Pp: 21-74. (Co-authored with Kanbur, R. and Stanwix, B.)
  2. IZA Journal of Labor & Development: Special Collection: Thematic series on Reforming Minimum Wage and Labor Regulation Policies in Developing Economies (2016). (Co-edited with Kanbur, R. and Shi, Li).
  3. Higher Education, Employment, and Economic Growth: Exploring the interactions. Development Southern Africa, LMIP Special Issue (2016) 33(3). (Co-authored with Cassim, A. and Tseng, D.)
  4. 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.)
  5. Partial Minimum Wage Compliance. IZA Journal of Labor & Development (2015) November, 4(18). (Co-authored with Kanbur, R. and Stanwix, B.)
  6. 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.)


  1. Shadow State: The Politics of State Capture, edited by: Chipkin, I. and Swilling, M. Wits University Press, 2018. (Co-authored with Buthelezi, M.; Chipkin, I.; Duma, S.; Friedenstein, H.; Mondi, L.; Peter, C.; Prins, N.; Qobo, M. and Swilling, M.)
  2. Understanding and characterizing the services sector in South Africa: An overview. In: Industries Without Smokestacks and Structural Transformation in Africa, edited by: Tarp, F., Newfarmer, R. and Page, J. Oxford University Press (Co-authored with Kachingwe, N., Lees, A., Rooney, C. and Steenkamp, F.) (FORTHCOMING).
  3. Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, determinants and consequences. UNDP 2017, New York. 
    (Co-edited with Conceição, P., Cornia, G.A., and Odusola, A.)
  4. Employment outcomes and earnings in post-apartheid South Africa. In: Towards employment-intensive growth in South Africa, edited by Anthony Black. UCT Press 2016, pp 80-107. (Co-authored with Mayet, N.)
  5. Policy co-ordination and growth traps in a middle-income country setting: The case of South Africa. In: The Practice of Industrial Policy, edited by John Page and Finn Tarp. Oxford University Press 2017. Chapter 11, pp 211-233. (Co-authored with Cassim, A. and Hirsch, A.)
  6. The Pursuit of Long-Run Economic Growth in Africa: Key Challenges. In: Africa's Lions: Growth Traps and Opportunities for Six African Economies, Brookings Press 2016. Co-edited with Finn Tarp. Chapter 1, pp 1-36. (Co-authored with Tarp, F.)
  7. Demographic, employment, and wage trends in South Africa. In: Africa's Lions: Growth Traps and Opportunities for Six African Economies, Brookings Press 2016. Co-edited with Finn Tarp. pp 229 - 272 (Co-authored with Naidoo, K., Oosthuizen, M. and Pillay, K.)
  8. Employment outcomes and earnings in post-apartheid South Africa. In Towards employment-intensive growth in South Africa, UCT Press 2016. Edited by Anthony Black. pp 80 - 107 (Co-authored with Mayet, N.)
  9. Book: Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa. Oxford University Press. 2014. (Co-edited with Hirsch, A., Kanbur, R. and Ncube, M.)

​Collaborative Working Papers

  1. Modelling Labour Markets in Low Income Countries with Imperfect Data. GLM|LIC Working Paper NO. 39, December 2017. (Co-authored with Oosthuizen, M., Lilenstein, K., Sharp, M. and Yu, D.)
  2. 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.)​​
  3. 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.)​
  4. 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.)

DPRU Working Paper:

  1. WP 201801 - Structural Change and Patterns of Inequality in the South African Labour Market (with Safia Khan)
  2. WP 201706 - The Seychelles Labor Market (with Arabo Ewinyu and Derek Yu)
  3. WP 201704 - The Socio-Economic Determinants of Crime in South Africa: an Empirical Assessment (with Adaiah Lilenstein, Jabulile Monnakgotla, Amy Thornton and Kirsten van der Zee)
  4. WP 201702 - State Of Manufacturing In South Africa (with Christopher Rooney)