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Cape Town
South Africa
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About the UCT-SALDRU

Founded in 1829, the University of Cape Town has a proud tradition of academic excellence andeffecting social change and development through its pioneering scholarship, faculty and students. 

The Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) is based in the School of Economics in UCT; it carries out research in applied empirical microeconomics with an emphasis on labour markets, human capital, poverty, inequality and social policy. We strive for academic excellence and policy relevance. SALDRU has implemented a range of innovative surveys in South Africa since it was founded in 1975.

UCT-SALDRU key staff members

Murray Leibbrandt is a Professor in the School of Economics and the Director of SALDRU. He specialises in research on inequality in labour markets in South Africa. He has directed the South African research team on a multi-country study of Poverty, Inequality and Labour Markets in Africa.   

Patrizio Piraino is Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics. His works focus on the long-run determinants of economic inequality and the processes underlying social mobility. Before joining UCT, he worked as Research Economist for Statistics Canada.

Clara Delavallade is Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics. Her works focus on the determinants and impacts of corruption and on the evaluation of public policies in health and education. Before joining UCT, she worked as the Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia, in India.

Justine Burns is an Associate Professor and a research associate of SALDRU. Her research interests include behavioural and experimental economics, trust and social capital, discrimination, labour markets and social networks, and intergenerational mobility.

Vimal Ranchhod is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town. He obtained his PhD from the University of Michigan, and was a post-doc at the Population Studies Center at Michigan as well as in the National Income Dynamics Study of South Africa. His research focus has been on empirical issues pertaining to labour markets and education, primarily in South Africa.

Eva Wegner is a research fellow at the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit. She earned her PhD in Political Science from the European University Institute and was a post-doc at Yale University. Her research focus is on political parties in developing countries, democratization, and political mechanisms of inequality persistence. She has published a book on opposition politics in Morocco. Miguel Pellicer in GIGA is associated to SALDRU for the NOPOOR programme.


SALDRU has established itself as a focal institution for the study of inequalities, discrimination and labour market issues in Southern Africa.

Relevant references

Burns J., Godlonton S. & Keswell M. 2009 «Social Networks, Employment and Worker Discouragement: Evidence from South Africa», Labour Economics.

Delavallade C. & de la Croix D. 2009, «Growth, Public Investment and Corruption with Failing Institutions», Economics of Governance, Vol. 10 (3): 187-219

Leibbrandt M., Lam D. & Ardington C., Forthcoming. «Schooling as a lottery: Racial differences in school advancement in urban South Africa», Journal of Development Economics.

Leibbrandt M., Levinsohn J. & McCrary J., 2010, «Incomes in South Africa after the Fall of Apartheid», Journal of Globalisation and Development 1(1)

Pellicer M., 2009, «Inequality Persistence through Vertical vs. Horizontal Coalitions», Journal of Development Economics, 90(2), 258-266