South Africa team


Volker Schöer  (project coordinator)

Volker Schöer is a lecturer in economics at the University of the Witwatersrand. He holds a MA in economics from the University of Cape Town. Volker’s research investigates worker and firm dynamics with particular focus on job matching, and education. He is also the director of the African Micro-Economic Research Unit (AMERU) at the University of the Witwatersrand. The AMERU focuses on micro-econometric analysis of South African labour force and firm level data. Some of the latest projects of the AMERU include impact evaluation studies of a youth wage subsidy and various education interventions.

Gareth Roberts

Gareth Roberts

Gareth is a lecturer at the School of Economics and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand and has been a researcher at AMERU since 2008. His primary interest is in youth unemployment and he was most recently part of a team that implemented an evaluation of a targeted youth wage-subsidy voucher for the National Treasury of South Africa. Gareth also has extensive experience managing data collection and is currently the Impact Evaluation coordinator in South Africa for the World Bank’s Development Impact Evaluation Initiative (DIME).


Lawrence Edwards

Lawrence Edwards is an Associate Professor in the School of Economics, University of Cape Town. Lawrence graduated with a MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics in 1998. He completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Cape Town in 2003.Lawrence’s research falls within the field of international trade with a specific focus on international trade and labour, the determinants of trade flows and economic adjustments to trade liberalisation. He has published in a number of international and local journals including World Development, Journal of International Development, South African Journal of Economics and Journal of Studies in Economics and Econometrics.He has also consulted widely with the World Bank, the National Treasury, the Department of Trade and Industry and is currently a member of the South African Growth Project managed by the Centre of International Development at Harvard University.


Neil Rankin

Neil Rankin is an Associate Professor in Economics at Stellenbosch University. He holds a MA in Economics from the Simon Fraser University and completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Oxford in 2006. Neil is an applied micro-economist working in the areas of labour markets, firms, pricing, trade and impact evaluation. One stream of his current research work examines the links between company performance and labour market outcomes in an African context, and particularly the impact of trade at a microeconomic level. As part of his research he has managed and administered firm and labour market surveys in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania.


Wayde Flowerday (r4d PhD student)

Wayde Flowerday completed his Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Computational and Applied Mathematics, and Economic Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, graduating in the top 5 of his class in 2013, as well as receiving a place in the top 10 for a national competition for young South African economists. Completing both a BEconSci Honours, and a MEconSci at the University of The Witwatersrand, Wayde decided to pursue his PhD, and was afforded the opportunity through AMERU and the R4D project. The field of study that most interests him is that of firm level data and dynamics. Having worked on South Africa’s SME Growth Index dataset for 3 years, Wayde has acquired a great deal of knowledge surrounding the South African small, medium, and micro enterprise sector. Furthermore, Wayde has been actively sought out to consult for various enterprises including (but not limited to), the South African Department of Trade and Industry, the United Nations Development Industrial Development Organisation, the South African National Treasury, and the South African Revenue Services.

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Aalia Cassim (r4d PhD student)

Aalia was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She completed her Bachelors of Commerce degree with majors in economics and law at Wits University. During this time she took part in a national competition for young South African economists, receiving a place in the top 10. She subsequently completed a BEcon Sci Honours degree at Wits University and a Masters degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Aalia is currently a Senior Economist at the National Treasury. Her focus is on competition, regulation, energy and firm dynamics. Her current role allows her to undertake research as well as contribute meaningfully to policy-making in the country. The topic of her PhD at the Wits University is on the casualisation of labour in South Africa employing both firm level data as well as qualitative analysis. One of the main questions that her research will attempt to answer is around the trade-off between firm flexibility and employment protection, in the context of South Africa’s high unemployment rate.

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