Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU)

The Development Policy Research Unit is a University-recognized research unit located within the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town. The DPRU specialises in socio-economic research with a core focus on the areas of labour markets, poverty and inequality. Through the application of economic and statistical techniques, our aim is to produce academically credible and rigorous policy analysis. http://www.dpru.uct.ac.za/

Library Articles

The Role of Informal Urban Settlements in Upward Mobility

Informal urban settlements influences the well-being of a large section of global humanity . Yet there has been very little research on their role in facilitating social mobility. Such settlements, in theory, may foster human progress by linking rural-urban migrants to the services, contacts and livelihoods concentrated in cities. Longitudinal data is used in this paper for South Africa, in order...

Vulnerability in Employment: Evidence from South Africa

The high levels of poverty and unemployment in South Africa, have led to an emphasis on jobs as a solution to these problems. The subject of job creation in South Africa, is at the forefront of the most important economic policy documents, ever since the end of apartheid. However, this analysis shows, that whilst jobs bring down the unemployment rate, they are not necessarily a panacea for...

The South African Township Economy and Informal Micro - Enterprises : What are the Prospects for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship?

Most youth will need to find employment in the informal sector, if they want to be employed. Yet data on labour force participation indicates that youth are not widely active in self-employed activities or informally employed in micro-enterprises. What then would the prospects for youth employment in informal micro-enterprises be? This brief discusses the statistically obscure work that youth...

Investigating the Feasibility of a National Minimum Wage for South Africa

By:
Published: 2016
Currently in South Africa, minimum wages are organized through two main structures: Bargaining Councils (BC) and Sectoral Determinations (SD). Together, these cover close to 70 percent of low-wage workers in the country. More recently, however, the proposed introduction of a National Minimum Wage (NMW) by government has been the subject of ongoing national deliberation and discussion. The...

Informality and Inclusive Growth in Sub Saharan Africa

The connection between informality and the inclusiveness of economic growth is quite complex and varies in different contexts. Firstly, the authors find that the informal sector promotes inclusive growth through providing an alternative to unemployment when there are no alternative employment opportunities available; particularly for those with low skills, as well as women and young people....

Can Africa Compete with China in Manufacturing? The Role of Relative Unit Labor Costs

This paper examined the bilateral trade and cost competitiveness in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with China. Patterns are reviewed of bilateral trade between SSA and China, showing an extraordinary imbalance in the structure of trade, in that China overwhelmingly exports manufactured products to SSA and almost exclusively imports primary products in return. Our principal means of assessing the...

Labour and Unemployment in South Africa: Notes Towards a “Grand Bargain”

"The problematic is very clear: high unemployment, high inequality and low growth, combined with a lack of consensus on what to do. The last point is important. There is no shortage of specific actual policies and interventions, as well as specific further proposals for policies and interventions, and there is no shortage of detailed debate and discussion around each of them. We could of...

Minimum Wages in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Primer

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)most countries have adopted minimum wage regulation. Although the sectors and fraction of workers covered are small, given the low rates of formality and urbanization in SSA, (i) as the number of covered workers grows, wage regulation will become increasingly significant for the economy as a whole, (ii) there can be spill over effects on to uncovered sectors, and (iii)...

Economic Policy in South Africa, Past Present and Future

With the end of Apartheid in 1994 a new beginning was promised for South Africa. Herewith included was political freedom and inclusive development for all South Africans. This overview focusses on the economic record and the economic prospects of post Apartheid South Africa. The record is a mixed one. Many of the basic inequalities in health, education and housing that were the hallmark of...

Do Industrial Disputes Reduce Employment? Evidence from South Africa

A unique administrative database is utilized to provide a more nuanced and empirically based measure of employment protection for the labour market in South Africa. It is proposed to measure employment protection as a function of the quantity and efficiency parameters of the country’s dispute resolution body. Secondly, it is attempted to determine the impact of the employment protection measure...

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