Child poverty in South Africa: improving the evidence base (2015)

Work by the Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy (CASASP) has revealed that improvements could be made to the measurement of poverty, and particularly child poverty, in South Africa through the development of empirically-based equivalence scales and the use of a budget standards approach to help identify a poverty line. In addition, frequent calls have been made both within government and civil society for an evidence base to inform the rates at which social assistance is paid, particularly the Child Support Grant (CSG). CASASP intended to submit a proposal to the Economic and Social Research Council or the European Union (through a scheduled South Africa specific call) for a project to develop a budget standard for South Africa which would enable more rigorous measurement of child poverty and contribute to the evidence base for the payment rate of the CSG.

Funding was requested to undertake preliminary scoping work prior to submitting this proposal. During this time the following tasks were undertaken: (i) a review of the international literature on equivalence scales; (ii) a review of the international literature on linking levels of social assistance to notions of adequacy; (iii) a workshop on the adequacy of the CSG for meeting the needs of children; (iv) secondary data analysis using the National Income Dynamics Study to explore current expenditure patterns on child related items and the impact of various equivalence scales; (v) engagement with the budget standards teams at the Universities of York and Loughborough; and (vi) writing the full proposal.

DSPI Principal Investigator: Gemma Wright
Funded by: John Fell OUP Fund

Completed: 2015