7 Apr 2021 / 16:00 to 17:00
Research seminar

SA-TIED seminar on economic vulnerability in South Africa: before and during COVID-19

On 07 April the SA-TIED programme will host an online seminar on economic vulnerability in South Africa, before and during COVID-19. The presentation will be given by Simone Schotte and Rocco Zizzamia under the SA-TIED project work stream on Turning the tide on inequality

This presentation is based on the following working papers:

Snakes and ladders and loaded dice - Poverty dynamics and inequality in South Africa, 2008-2017

By Rocco Zizzamia, Simone Schotte, and Murray Leibbrandt
Presented by Simone Schotte and Rocco Zizzamia 


Longitudinal surveys can give insight into economic mobility, which allows us to understand how markers of (dis)advantage are consequential in determining material conditions in the present, and how these markers structure economic opportunity over time. In this paper we show that this dynamic element—the risk of falling into (deeper) poverty and the chances of moving up—looms large in the economic lives of both the poor and the non-poor in South Africa. We use all five waves of available National Income Dynamics Study data to provide a thorough and up-to-date analysis of poverty dynamics in South Africa between 2008 and 2017. This analysis focuses on the correlates of transitions into and out of poverty, and investigates how multidimensional inequalities in terms of household- and individual-level characteristics relate to both poverty persistence and vulnerability to poverty. We also update our 2018 analysis using NIDS Wave 5 data to directly link the dynamic study of poverty to the dynamic study of inequality through the lens of social stratification.

Download the SA-TIED working paper here


The livelihood impacts of COVID-19 in urban South Africa: A view from below

By Simone Schotte and Rocco Zizzamia
Presented by Simone Schotte and Rocco Zizzamia 


This paper investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related policy
measures on livelihoods in urban South Africa. Using qualitative research methods, we analyse two
rounds of semi-structured phone interviews, conducted between June and September 2020 in the
township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town. We contextualise these by presenting a snapshot of the
nationwide dynamics using quantitative panel data. Our findings describe how the shock of the
COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the economic vulnerability which preceded the crisis.
Survivalist livelihood strategies were undermined by the economic disruption to the informal
sector, while the co-variate nature of the shock rendered social networks and informal insurance
mechanisms ineffective, causing households to liquidate savings, default on insurance payments,
and deepen their reliance on government grants. In addition, the impact of the pandemic on
schooling may deepen existing inequalities and constrain future upward mobility.

Download the SA-TIED working paper here


To register for the event, click here

For further information email Bridgman@wider.unu.edu.