Theme 1: Poverty and inequality

Although South Africa has recorded a marginal decline in poverty levels over the last decade, it is affected by the globally rising levels of inequality. And so, to have better impact in terms of reducing both poverty and inequality, the country needs to improve collaboration of current policy interventions. This is the focus of this theme area, which, through training programmes and funded research, builds the capacity of policy-makers to better understand and engage with the dynamics of poverty and the multi-dimensions of deprivation, and therefore engage more effectively in meaningful policy-making and implementation.

The PSPPD Phase II is currently funding a range of research projects aimed at further understanding the complexities of Poverty and Inequality in South Africa. The reports from these projects will be available in the Repository as they are published.

Expanding social mobility through education (Stellenbosch University, Research on Socio-Economic Policy (ReSEP), Department of Economics)

The overall objective is to contribute to knowledge to improve policymaking and implementation regarding the labour market and education and to provide tangible policy advice that would diminish factors retarding mobility and would strengthen education’s role as pathway out of poverty. This will advance social mobility, reduce poverty, create a more equitable society and add to human capita, thereby strengthening economic growth.

The specific objectives are: (i) to determine the extent of social mobility in South Africa and the factors that affect it; (ii) to determine, using household and labour market datasets, including panel datasets, the role of various levels of education in individuals’ life paths, social mobility and labour market outcomes; (iii) to analyse cognitive performance above expectations of poor learners using school level datasets, the Annual National Assessment, matric data and systemic evaluations so as to offer perspectives on major factors in the education sphere influencing or holding back social mobility.

Food choices and body mass index (BMI) in adults and children: Evidence from the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) and empirical research from Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain in South Africa  (University of the Western Cape)

The aim of this research is to empirically explore and quantify food choices and Body Mass Index (BMI) in relation to people’s self-perceived health status and actual measurements using the 2013 NIDS data.

The specific objectives are:

  • Identify the kinds of food that are consumed in South Africa
  • Assess the circumstances and factors determining food consumption
  • Identify the relationship between food choices, self-perceived health status and actual BMI measurements
  • Measure the relationship between food choices, self-perceived health status and actual BMI measurements
  • Measure the relationship between food choices and obesity in adults and children
  • Empower historically disadvantaged South African students in quantitative research methodologies
  • Facilitate evidence-based policy making for effective multi-level intervention approaches in health promotion practice across South Africa.

Climate change adaptation and poverty reduction co-benefits: human capabilities towards green micro-enterprise   (University of KwaZulu-Natal)    

The action is an applied research case study to evaluate climate change adaptation programmes within two provinces of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) municipalities, in South Africa, and their poverty reducing co-benefits.  This is to both improve local and national practice, and to influence wider debates at global scale.

The proposal has two related objectives:

  1. To evaluate the relationship of climate change adaptation and poverty reduction policy co-benefits through case study assessment within a KZN municipality, South Africa
  2. To develop a measurement instrument which can evaluate climate finance initiatives with poverty co-benefits.

Analysis of 2014 firm survey data, from the greater Durban area, in order to contribute evidence to local, provincial and national policy for manufacturing firms to contribute to inclusive growth (University of KwaZulu-Natal)            

The overall objective is to provide a fresh evidence base for public and private collaboration around an action plan for enhancing the greater Durban manufacturing sector’s contribution inclusive economic growth in the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Province and South Africa as a whole. The specific objectives include: (i) to complete capturing the 2014 Durban Large and Medium Manufacturing Firm Survey data and to “clean” the data set and make it ready for analysis; (ii) to subject the data set of the 2014 Durban Large and Medium Manufacturing Firm Survey to thematic analysis in order to produce a series of reports able to shed light on matters policy makers and other stakeholders might be able to collaborate on in supporting more inclusive economic growth outcomes.

The impact of poverty and inequality in early childhood on long-term outcomes: Evidence from the Birth to Twenty study  (University of the Witwatersrand)  

The overarching goal of this action is to reduce disparities in childhood opportunities due to poverty and inequality by generating empirical evidence on the impact of ECD on South African children’s short and long term development outcomes, and engaging stakeholders in government and civil society in using such evidence.

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