Current Research

Social Insurance

  • Horn, A.J. & Donaldson, A.R. 2021. TERS Expenditure Outcomes. (SALDRU Working Paper ). (Forthcoming).

The Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) distributed payments to furloughed workers in South Africa, during the covid-19 lockdown. This paper investigates, across industries, what proportion of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributors were covered by the scheme, and how TERS payments were distributed across the earnings distribution. We find that, because the UIF is a contributory social insurance scheme, mainly middle- and upper-income earners benefited from TERS.

TERS policy brief (Donaldson): second half of the paper.

Further research on increasing government expenditure on social insurance?


I'm writing a SALDRU working paper on the occupational trends in South Africa since 1996.

Abstract for my working paper



Occupations, Earnings, Tasks and Careers in South Africa: A Contribution to the Post-Apartheid Labour Market Series, and an Enquiry into Occupational Inequality

  1. Introduction

  2. PALMS Occupations Data: Cleaning, and Distribution Trend
    The occupations data in the Post-Apartheid Labour Market Series (PALMS) dataset has quality issues. This chapter labels and cleans the occupation variable in PALMS, including imputation. This data preparation and investigation can assist social accounting analysis.

Most South African occupations research applies existing results based on the United States' Occupational Information Network (O*NET), and crosswalks the information from the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) to the International Standard Classification of Occupations 1988 (ISCO-88). The mapping between ISCO-88 and the South African Standard Classification of Occupations 2003 (SASCO-2003) has gaps, so we fill those gaps by providing a rigorous crosswalk. SASCO-2003 labels are inside the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) datasets.

Using the cleaned PALMS occupations data, we report on the occupational distribution trend over the past two decades.

  1. Construction of Task and Skill Data
    The O*NET content model assigns information on knowledge, skills, abilities or tasks to occupations. Ideally, labour economists in South Africa want similar information in a South African context, as PALMS does not go to this much detail. This chapter develops an occupation-tasks mapping in dataset format, a task classification scheme and a skills measurement scale following existing literature. The skill distribution developed here can then be used in analysis further down in the thesis.

  2. Description of Occupational Earnings
    Occupational earnings distributional trends, and linkages between occupations trends and earnings trends.
    SALDRU Occupational Earnings Comparison Tool web applet.

  3. Occupational Inequality: Causes and Mechanisms

Future research interests

Informal sector