In the Media

Impressive NIDS Coverage on Multiple Media Channels

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30 November 2017 | SALDRU

November proved to be a bumper month for media outreach for the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS), a survey implemented by SALDRU on behalf of the National Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, now entering its tenth year.

A decade is a remarkable milestone for this longitudinal panel study that’s been following the lives of 28 000 South Africans. But, as with many surveys, NIDS too has found an attrition rate amongst its wealthier participants who are less inclined to want to share their information.

This prompted a massive outreach plan to get wealthier South Africans on board. The NIDS team did a sterling job securing spots on television, online and as well as print media publications.

The challenges faced by our fieldworkers were captured by Pippa Green in an article published in the Daily Maverick. NIDS’ Operations Director, Samantha Richmond, did a sterling job promoting the survey to viewers of CNBC Africa. NIDS also got coverage in the Star, Sunday Independent and Sunday Weekend Argus.


Poor land governance ‘stifles rural growth’ argue Murray Leibbrandt and Pippa Green

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10 November 2017 | Business Day

Nkandla, the ward in KwaZulu Natal that South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, hails from, has a poverty rate of 81%, Murray Leibbrandt and Pippa Green wrote in Business Day on 10 November 2017. Key aspects of underdevelopment in rural South Africa can be traced to traditional leadership, especially as this relates to land ownership. Traditional authorities create tenure uncertainty and preside over poor land administration. Both, major blocks to development. "While we have one national framework for traditional leaders, there is no legislation that specifies their power in relation to land administration," argues this article.


What Does Current Research Reveal about Income Inequality in South Africa?

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30 November 2017 | SALDRU

The REDI3x3 project managed by SALDRU hosted a workshop on 13 November to share findings from recent research on earnings inequality. Download the workshop's programme here (PDF).

In general, the prognosis for reducing income inequality in South Africa is poor.

Rich people are coy about their incomes, Martin Wittenberg of DataFirst said, with the richest underreporting the most on their taxes. The point was reinforced by Rulof Burger from the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University who said that there’s no downward mobility for rich households in South Africa.

Research reveals that measures to reduce income inequality are ineffective. Ben Stanwix of DPRU said non-compliance with sectoral determination minimum wages is high. Overall 40-50% of workers in South Africa (across all sectors) are earning below the R20/hour minimum wage that will take effect on 1 May 2018.

Dip into the REDI3x3 working paper repository to find papers discussed at this workshop.


Watch: How Stable Is South Africa's Middle Class?

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7 November 2017 | SALDRU

If the solution to inequality lies in a growing middle class, how stable is the South African middle class? Only people who have an above average chance of not falling into poverty can be considered middle class.

The National Income Dynamic Study (NIDS) implemented by SALDRU on behalf of the National Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation finds that the high level of inequality in South Africa makes choosing a mid-range for inequality unsuitable for defining a middle class. The middle class does not start where poverty ends in South Africa. Only 20% of South Africans are middle class. Watch an animated video explainer on You Tube.

Seminar Series

SALDRU Hosts Regular Seminars Covering Topical Important Issues

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Join our seminar mailing list!

SALDRU researchers, associates, affiliates and visiting scholars offer insightful seminars based on research on a large number of topics. Join our mailing list for information about SALDRU's upcoming seminars.

To get your email address on our mailing list, plesase send a request to Amy Jephthah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Recent SALDRU Seminars:

Trade Liberalization and Infrastructure

6 December 2017: Asha Sundaram, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Auckland, New Zealand delivering a SALDRU seminar today on “Trade Liberalization, Infrastructure and Firm Performance: Evidence from Ethiopia”.

The study co-authored with Matteo Fiorini of  European University Institute and Marco Sanfilippo of University of Bari and University of Antwerp, underlines the importance of domestic transport infrastructure in ensuring that gains from trade are spread uniformly within developing countries. 

Read about the study here.

Find more information about the seminar here.

Income and Psychological Wellbeing

29 November 2017: Mohamad Alloush, a PhD candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Davis talked about “Income, Psychological Well-being, and the Dynamics of Poverty: Evidence from South Africa”.

The relationship between income and psychological wellbeing is not well understood. Using data from NIDS, Alloush's economic model predicts that if one starts poor and has low levels of psychological wellbeing, one would likely remain poor in the future. More information abot this seminar here

Smoking in Sub-Saharan Africa

22 November 2017: Dr David Reubi from King's College London, Sociologist & Anthropologist trained at London School of Economics, delivered a seminar at SALDRU titled “Problematizing Smoking in Sub-Saharan Africa: Tobacco and the Reconfiguration of Health and Development.”

The double burden of disease, both communicable and non-communicable, is set to really take hold in Africa by 2030. More information about this seminar here.


Journal Articles

Tax(i)ing the Poor? Commuting Costs in South African Cities
Andrew Kerr, South African Journal of Economics 

Peer Networks and Tobacco Consumption in South Africa
Alfred Kechia Mukong, South African Journal of Economics

Decomposing changes in household measures: Household size and services in South Africa, 1994–2012
Martin Wittenberg et al, Demographic Research

Public disclosure for carbon abatement: African decision-makers in a PROPER public good experiment
Wisdom Akpalu, Babatunde Abidoye, Edwin Muchapondwa & Witness Simbanegavi

Aiming for a Moving Target: The Dynamics of Household Electricity Connections in a Developing Context
Tom Harris, Mark Collinson and Martin Wittenberg

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