The DPRU’s current key areas of expertise are labour market issues, poverty, and inequality, with a specific focus on South Africa. While these three areas constitute the core focus of the Unit’s research work, researchers do engage in projects concentrating on related issues such as gender, trade, economic growth or demography. The bulk of our research derives from the analysis and manipulation of micro-level datasets, such as individual and household surveys, firm surveys, national censuses and even administrative databases. The future research direction of the Unit is expected to draw from its established strengths and the experience of its research staff, but with an emphasis on deepening our expertise in current areas of research and broadening the scope of future research. A sample of both current and completed research projects is represented below.
The DPRU is currently engaged in a variety of interesting and diverse projects and studies. Our research programme has recently been able to enter new terrain, principally through the availability of unique or new datasets. Be it the data on recipients of unemployment insurance, or dispute resolution, or even strikes, these novel datasets have opened up an entirely new and rich set of economic and econometric questions, which were not previously possible.
In addition, the particularly exciting work on minimum wages and the enforcement thereof, is part of a multi-country project in collaboration with the leading global thinkers in this arena.
The DPRU’s suite of completed research projects ranges from continued engagement with labour market issues, such as studies on the efficiency and effectiveness of the economy’s dispute resolution system and the role of bargaining councils in the labour market, to diverse international projects and studies such as the National Transfer Accounts (NTA)—an international research project funded by the IDRC that aims to measure and understand the generational economy—and Counting Women’s Work (CWW)—a multi-country research effort at incorporating unpaid work into the National Transfer Accounts framework.
The resulting body of new and innovative policy work has arguably made significant advances in our understandings of the South African labour market.