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3.03, The School of Economics, New Building, Middle Campus.
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Research Area / Interest :
Director: SALDRU (South African Labour and Development Research Unit) NRF/DSD Research Chair in Poverty and Inequality Research; labour; rural development; income distribution and poverty; survey econometrics

Murray Leibbrandt is a Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town and the Director of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit. He holds the DSD/NRF National Research Chair of Poverty and Inequality Research and is an IZA Research Fellow. His research focusses on South African poverty‚ inequality and labour market dynamics using survey data and‚ in particular‚ panel data. He is currently one of the Principal Investigators on the National Income Dynamics Study. He is a past president of the African Econometric Society and immediate past president of the Economic Society of South Africa.

Fields of Research:

Poverty, inequality and labour markets in South Africa

Curriculum Vitae

PhD., University of Notre Dame, USA Professor School of Economics and Director Southern African Labour and Development Research UnitUniversity of Cape Town

For a more detailed CV, please click here (.PDF) (193 KB) (07/06/2012)


  • University of Michigan Visiting Professor 2003
  • University of Cape Town Director, Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit 2002 -
  • University of Cape Town Professor 2000 -
  • University of Cape Town Director, School of Economics 2000 - 2002
  • University of Cape Town Acting Director, School of Economics 1999
  • University of Cape Town Associate Professor (Graduate Convenor) 1998 - 1999
  • University of Cape Town Senior Lecturer (Graduate Convenor) 1994 - 1998
  • Cornell University Visiting Fellow 1998
  • Rhodes University Senior Lecturer 1993 - 1994


  • 2009 Co–Principal Investigator of the proposal that was awarded the tender by the Presidency for the second wave of the National Income Dynamics Study.
  • 2008 PI of successful $350 000 proposal in response to the Hewlett Foundation/PRB call for Global Teams of Research Excellence in Population‚ Reproductive Health and Economic Development.
  • 2008 Awarded an NRF/DSD National Research Chair in Poverty and Inequality Research.2008 Awarded a B Rating as a Researcher by the National Research Foundation.
  • 2006 Co–Principal Investigator of the proposal that was awarded the tender by the Presidency to launch the first wave of the National Income Dynamics Study.
  • 2005 Principal Investigator on a R3‚5 million sub–contract with Princeton University to expand the 2006 wave of the Cape Area Panel Study.
  • 2004 Director of the grant writing team that wrote a successful renewal application to the Mellon Foundation for $600 000 over three years to support a Demography Programme at UCT.
  • 2003 Winner of the University of Cape Town’s Alan Pifer Award for outstanding welfare –related research.
  • 2003 UCT Principal Researcher on a successful University of Michigan/UCT proposal to the NICHD to do research and new survey work on "Family Support and Rapid Social Change in South Africa". The award will bring $800 000 to UCT over five years. This award funded the Cape Area Panel Study in 2006 and 2007.
  • 2003 University of Cape Town meritorious publication award for Book Fighting Poverty: Labour Markets and Inequality in South Africa
  • 2002 Awarded a B Rating as a Researcher by the National Research Foundation.
  • 2001/2 Wrote a successful application to the African Economics Research Consortium on behalf of the School of Economics at UCT as a result of which we were nominated and funded as the host institution in Southern Africa for PhD training in Economics.
  • 2001 Wrote a successful application for a three year $250 000 USAID grant to facilitate Master’s studies in Economics at UCT in Labour Economics and Labour Market Policy.
  • 2001 Director of the grant writing team that wrote a successful application to the Mellon Foundation for $600 000 over three years to develop a Demography Programme at UCT.
  • 1997 Project leader for the South African team that was awarded a two–year research contract by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) in order undertake the South African Country Study for the African Economic Research Consortium’s Research Programme on Poverty‚ Inequality and Labour Markets in Africa. The South African study is jointly funded by the AERC and the South African Department of Labour.
  • 1993 Winner of the Industrial Development Corporation’s Competition to Promote Academic Research into Industrial Policy and Development in South Africa (With T Wright and T Bell).
  • 1992 Kellogg Institute for International Studies (Dissertation Fellowship)
  • 1992 South African National Scholarship
  • 1991 Economics Department of the University of Notre Dame (McGee Dissertation Fellowship)
  • 1990 Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Prestige Scholarship(For Ph.D studies abroad)
  • 1990 University of Notre Dame Teaching Assistantship (For Ph.D studies)
  • 1986 University of Notre Dame Graduate Assistantship (For Ph.D studies) (declined)
  • 1984 Fulbright Scholarship (Masters Degree study in the United States)
  • 1984 Rhodes University Masters Scholarship (declined)
  • 1983 Senbank Prize of the South African Journal of Economics(Best honours essay in Economics by a student at a South African University)
  • 1983 Rhodes University Academic Full Colours
  • 1983 Rhodes University (Honours Scholarship)
  • 1983 HSRC Honours Scholarship
  • 1982 Rhodes University Threlfel Prize(Best final year undergraduate student in economics)


  • 2009 Led with Ingrid Woolard two SALDRU reports for the OECD. "Trends in South African Income Distribution and Poverty Since the Fall of Apartheid" and "Labour Markets Poverty and Inequality in South Africa Since the Fall of Apartheid".
  • 2006 Commissioned by the National Treasury to write a report with Ingrid Woolard‚ "Towards a Poverty Line for South Africa". (33pages).
  • 2005 Invited participant‚ World Bank Knowledge for Change Programme Consultative Group Meeting‚ Paris‚ October 26‚ 2005. (Declined as was teaching).
  • 2005 Invited to participate‚ United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Implications of Changing Population Age Structures‚ Mexico City‚ 31 August– 2 September 2005. (Declined as was teaching).
  • 2005/6 Commissioned by the National Treasury and Department of Education to lead an evaluation of the National School Feeding Scheme with Laura Poswell. 3 Reports: Report 1: Targeting Criteria and Appropriateness (pp 50). Report 2: Evaluation Methodologies (pp113)‚ Report 3: Sampling (pp54).
  • 2003 Commissioned by the Office of the Presidency to lead an international team to produce an input paper for the Presidency’s ten–year review.
  • 2003 Contributed to a report headed by Professor Nicoli Nattrass and commissioned by the Centre for Development Enterprise on Inequality in Post–apartheid South Africa.
  • 2002 Taught modules on the analysis of poverty and inequality in three short courses funded by USAID to officials of the Department of Labour‚ members of the Sectoral Education and Training Authorities and trade union and NGO representatives.
  • 2002 Commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme to Produce an Input Study on South African Unemployment with Haroon Bhorat.
  • 2001 Presenter at the Department of Labour Senior Official Workshop on Labour Market Issues.
  • 2000 Commissioned by the President’s Office to Produce a Glossy Summary of book on Labour Markets‚ Poverty and Inequality in South Africa.
  • 2000 Commissioned by Nathans and Associates on behalf of the Department of Finance to write a paper on Employment Dynamics in Kwazulu–Natal. (With Professor Gary Fields of Cornell University).
  • 1999/2000 Member of the South African Department of Labour’s Research Advisory Committee.
  • 1999/2000 Coordinator of two World Bank/UCT training courses on Poverty Analysis for Southern African policy makers.
  • 1999 Presenter at the launching of the Department of Labour Policy Seminar Series
  • 1999 Invited presenter at policy workshop on rural poverty organised by the Deputy President’s Office for Director Generals and Deputy Director Generals in the Departments of Agriculture‚ Land Affairs‚ Water‚ Finance and the Land Bank. Union Buildings‚ March 2.
  • 1999 Commissioned by Nathans and Associates on behalf of the Department of Finance to write a paper on Key Labour Market Elasticities in South Africa. (With Professor Gary Fields of Cornell University).
  • 1999 Commissioned by the Economic Commission for Africa to teach on the UNECA/World Bank Course ’Economic Growth‚ Poverty Reduction and Social Protection. Addis Ababa‚ Ethiopia‚ June 1–11‚ 1999.
  • 1999 Commissioned by the Development Bank of Southern Africa to write a report on Income Inequality Dynamics in Kwazulu–Natal
  • 1998 Commissioned by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) as an external evaluator of their
  • 1997/98 Annual Report and as a member of the international reference group for the DBSA’s Flagship Report.
  • 1997 Commissioned to write a research paper for The Poverty and Inequality Report which was prepared for the Office of the Executive Deputy President. I was also asked to redraft the chapter on the Labour Market for the final report but had to decline because of the end of year university commitments.
  • 1997 Submitted a report on reparations as part of my work on the Technical Team advising the Reparations Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • 1996 Commissioned by the Department of Finance to review the labour market analysis and recommendations of the penultimate draft of their policy document: Growth Employment and Redistribution: A Macroeconomic Strategy.
  • 1995/6 Research contract for the International Labour Office‚ Geneva.
  • 1995/6 Member of the Presidential Labour Market Commission.
  • 1995 A member of the drafting team for the Sasol Synfuel Protection Study submitted to the Liquid Fuels Task Force of NEDLAC.
  • 1994 Invited participant in the National Economic Forum’s Public Works Programme Pre–Investment Investigation. (I wrote a briefing paper for the Targeting Focus Group).
  • 1994 Commissioned by the Minister Without Portfolio as one of the drafters for the Reconstruction and Development Programme’s White Paper. Co–ordinated a chapter on "Monitoring and Evaluating the RDP" in an early draft and also wrote a short briefing paper on the labour market as an input into this document.
  • 1994 Commissioned by the Ministry of Public Works to devise an allocation rule for dividing the Public Works Programme Budget between the Provinces.
  • 1993 A member of the drafting team of the document "Public Works Programmes in South Africa: A Key Element in Employment Policy?" for The Economic Research Unit‚ University of Natal.
  • 1988–90 Steering Committee Member of the Grahamstown Rural Committee (An NGO fighting forced removals in the Eastern Cape)