Watch: Leibbrandt Talks to eNCA about Innovative Policy and Research Integration Initiative

The Southern Africa – Towards Inclusive Economic Development (SA-TIED) initiative is an ambitious partnership between government and the research community aimed at fostering inclusive economic growth. The program aims to forge good policy in the economic cluster by drawing on the support of the national and international research community and their experience of policies that have worked elsewhere.

As a WIDER Senior Research Fellow, SALDRU’s Prof. Murray Leibbrandt, is a lead economist on the SA-TIED work stream focussed on turning the tide on inequality. He recently told television channel, ENCA, that to achieve inclusive economic growth, “we need policy to be well informed by evidence about our firms, people, labour market and how they integrate together”.

SA-TIED supports government researchers to inform and shape policy by engaging with cutting edge research through partnerships with the academic and policy research community. Through this program, government officials study towards PhDs and/or receive analytical training, including learning about economic modelling.

The programme supports government policy “through original research conceived and produced in collaboration between United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), National Treasury, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and many other governmental and research organizations in South Africa and its sub-region.” To learn more about SA-TIED, visit its website.

Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, commended the SA-TIED initiative in his Medium-Term Budget Plan (MTBP) speech last month, leading to Leibbrandt being interviewed by ENCA.

In response to a question from ENCA about when one could expect to see the results of the program, Leibbrandt said that in some cases government researchers are already drawing on cutting edge research, such as tax policy research, to inform and shape policy. In this regard, SA-TIED is a dynamic program that is brought to life through direct interaction between the research community and government officials.

Leibbrandt, who is currently on sabbatical at Yale University, returned to South Africa in November to, amongst other things, participate in a two-day SA TIED workshop in Pretoria. The purpose of the workshop was to brief the South African research community on a new research facility that has been put in place within the National Treasury, in partnership with the South African Revenue Services (SARS) and WIDER, as part of the SA-TIED initiative. As is done in many other countries, under appropriately controlled conditions within the facility, researchers can work with anonymised versions of South Africa’s tax data to fill key gaps in the country’s evidence base. The particular focus of the meeting in Pretoria was income, wealth and gender inequality, and related tax policies. A request for proposals was issued to encourage researchers to use the facility to start addressing these key issues.