Category: Theme 2: Employment, unemployment and livelihoods
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docx.png Theme 2 : Employment, Unemployment and Livelihoods Domain Map draft HOT

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The Knowledge Domain Map is expected to add value by providing the user with:

  • An innovative, interactive, intuitive and easy-to-use tool for browsing or searching a collection of documents, texts and links to resources
  • A comprehensive, systematic, and scientifically rigorous map of the knowledge domain, grounded on a solid theoretical foundation
  • An overview of top authors, models and key concepts in the field
  • Instant access to full text articles and summaries.


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2016-03-09
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pdf.png Economic Growth Isn’t Over, but It Doesn’t Create Jobs Like It Used To 2016 HOT

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This paper argues against the notion that if only we could once again have that broad-based, robust innovation, then nearly everyone would be better off, and we would again see real incomes for average workers rising (just as we did before 1970). 



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2016-04-09
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zip.png When Signals are lost in Aggregation: A Comparison of Language Marks and Competencies of Entering University Students 2015

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Although English Home Language (HL) and English First Additional Language (FAL) marks from the National Senior Certificate (NSC) are used for university admission in South Africa, no studies have explored their predictive value. This article sheds light on English language marks and English language competence through a comparative analysis of NSC marks and National Benchmark Test (NBT) Academic Literacy (AL) test results for a cohort of first-year education students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, South Africa. To provide in-depth insight, the analysis includes fine-grained analysis of specific academic language competencies. The results of the analysis of this study showed that the same mark in English HL and FAL does not necessarily reflect the same level of English language academic competence as measured by the NBT AL test. On average, students who wrote the FAL papers scored between .5 and .9 of a standard deviation below students who wrote the HL papers.



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2016-07-12
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pdf.png System-wide improvement of early-grade mathematics: new evidence from the Gauteng Primary Literacy and Mathematics Strategy 2015

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This article reports on a two-year evaluation of the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy (GPLMS), an innovative system-wide reform intervention designed to improve learning outcomes in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Using data from universal testing of all learners in 2008 on a provincial systemic evaluation, as well as data from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Annual National Assessment tests, this article investigates whether or not the GPLMS improves the numeracy skills of learners in early-grade mathematics in underperforming schools. Using as identification strategy, the natural experiment that resulted from a miscalculation of the provincial systemic evaluation test scores in 2008, which had been used to assign schools to the GPLMS intervention, the study shows that the GPLMS intervention is positively associated with improvements in early-grade mathematics performance of schools in the neighbourhood around the assignment threshold. The findings of the study contribute to the growing body of knowledge that shows the effectiveness of combining lesson plans, learner resources, and quality teacher capacity building.



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2016-07-12
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pdf.png Large-scale instructional reform in the Global South: insights from the mid-point evaluation of the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy 2014

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This paper reports on a mid-point evaluation of the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy (GPLMS), an innovative large-scale reform designed to improve learning outcomes. Using data from universal testing of all learners in 2008 on a provincial systemic evaluation, and data from the 2011 and 2012 Annual National Assessment (ANA) test, this
paper addresses the key research question, namely whether the GPLMS is effective in closing the gap between performing and underperforming schools. Given the evidence we have presented of an instrument effect, namely that various versions of the ANA may not be strictly comparable, no definitive conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of the GPLMS.



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2016-07-12
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html.png Accessing the first job in a slack labour market: Job matching in South Africa 2014

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Little is known about job matching in labour markets with mass unemployment. Using a unique data set of labour market experiences of young African job participants in South Africa, our findings show that accessing jobs through various employment channels is non-random. Specifically, different individual, household, job and firm characteristics are correlated with the probability of accessing the first job via a particular channel, indicating that firms and/or job seekers select themselves into the use of these channels in their recruitment and job search strategies. Further research using panel data and/or matched employer–employee data is needed to unpack these associations.



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2016-07-12
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pdf.png Export Destination, Product Quality and Wages in a Middle Income Country. The Case of South Africa 2013 HOT

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A robust finding in the firm-level literature is that exporting firms pay higher wages. However, in many cases these results are at the firm-level and do not control for worker specific characteristics. In this paper we use data from South Africa and four other SADC countries to expand on the growing body of research that uses matched employer-employee data to investigate the relationship between exporting and wages at a worker level. South Africa, a middle-income country, has two distinct main export markets – a regional market in SADC where per capita incomes are lower than at home and an international market, predominantly the United States and Western Europe, where per capita incomes are higher than at home. We exploit this distinction to investigate whether export destination impacts on wages. Our estimates show that workers in South African firms that export to the region earn less than those that produce for the domestic market. Those in firms that export outside the region earn more than either domestic producers or SADC-only exporters. These results support previous  theoretical and empirical work which suggests that export destination is related to product quality which in turn is related to worker quality and therefore wages.



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2016-07-12
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html.png Predictors of academic performance: National Senior Certificate versus National Benchmark Test 2012

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This paper considers students’ performance in an identical Economics test at two universities to investigate the predictive power of the NBT against that of Mathematics in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exam. We find that, on average, both NBT and NSC results are useful predictors of performance in Economics. However, for students whose NSC Mathematics marks are close to the minimum admission requirements, the NBT scores (especially in Quantitative and Academic Literacy) are better measures of academic potential. Thus, an admission criterion based on NSC marks alone may exclude students with the academic potential to pass university courses, while it may admit students that are not sufficiently prepared for university studies. Our findings suggest that the NBT should not be used as an alternative to the NSC, but as a complement for admission and correct placement of lower performing applicants.



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2016-07-12

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zip.png Comparability of NSC mathematics scores and former SC mathematics scores: How consistent is the signal across time? 2011

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Pupils’ competence and preparedness are assumed to be reflected in their school-leaving scores which are used by employers and further education institutions as signals for selecting appropriate applicants. Schools need a consistent signal of their pupils’ potential success beyond school in order to prepare them appropriately. The introduction of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) in South Africa has led to the admission of students into universities who seem inadequately prepared for tertiary education, especially with regard to their mathematical preparedness. Using a standardised 1st year university test first written in 2006 and repeated in 2009 and 2010, we compare the signalling ability of the NSC school-leaving mathematics scores with the former Higher Grade (HG) in terms of mathematical preparedness. Our findings suggest that the NSC mathematics scores are inflated by around 20–25 percentage points compared to the former HG mathematics scores. However, once deflated, the NSC scores are very good predictors of mathematical preparedness. These results are consistent across the two NSC cohorts which should indicate to schools what the comparable level of mathematical preparedness is across HG and NSC mathematics and allow university admission offices to set more appropriate minimum requirements for university admission.



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2016-07-12

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zip.png A blurred signal? The usefulness of National Senior Certificate (NSC) Mathematics marks as predictors of academic performance at university level 2011

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Internationally, performance in school Mathematics has been found to be a reliable predictor of performance in commerce courses at university level. Based on the predictive power of school-leaving marks, universities use results from school-leaving Mathematics examinations to rank student applicants according to their predicted abilities. However, in 2008 the structure and scope of school-leaving examinations changed in South Africa from the former Senior Certificate (SC) to the new National Senior Certificate (NSC). This structural break seems to create fluctuations in the signalling ability of the school-leaving marks. South African universities are unsure about how well the current NSC Mathematics marks reflect the underlying numerical competence of students, given that a high number of the 2009 student intake failed their first-year core courses across faculties. This paper estimates a deflator for the new NSC Mathematics marks relative to the former Higher Grade (HG) Mathematics marks, by comparing performance in similar first tests of two commerce subjects, Economics 1 and Computational Mathematics, between the 2008 and 2009 first-year cohorts. The results indicate that the signalling ability of the NSC Mathematics marks is reduced significantly. Instead of differentiating students according to their abilities, the new NSC Mathematics marks compress students with a wide range of abilities and disabilities into a very narrow range of percentage marks.



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2016-07-12

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Theme 2: Employment, unemployment and livelihoods