Professor of Economics and Director of the Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town

Haroon Bhorat is Professor of Economics and Director of the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

His research interests cover labour economics, poverty and income distribution. He has co-authored two books on labour market and poverty issues in South Africa, and has published more than 150 academic journal articles, book chapters and working papers. He recently co-edited The Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa (with Alan Hirsch, Ravi Kanbur and Mthuli Ncube).

Prof Bhorat has his PhD in Economics through Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Cornell University research fellow.

Prof Bhorat holds the highly prestigious National Research Chair under the theme of Economic Growth, Poverty and Inequality: Exploring the Interactions for South Africa.

He is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution affiliated to the Global Economy and Development Program, and the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI), and a Research Fellow at IZA, the Institute for the Study of Labour in Bonn. Prof Bhorat consults with international organizations such as the ILO, the UNDP, the World Bank, Ratings Agencies and emerging market fund managers. He is a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Board of the Commission on Global Poverty. He was also a member of the UN Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP), and was Head of Research for the UN’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Professor Bhorat has undertaken extensive work for several South African government departments – most notably the South African Department of Labour, the Presidency and the National Treasury. He is a Director on the Board of the Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (WESGRO), is a member of the Statistics Council, Statistics South Africa, and sits on the South African Journal of Economics Editorial Board.

He has served on a number of government research advisory panels, and was an economic advisor to the former Minister of Finance, and former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, formally serving on the Presidential Economic Advisory Panel.

Latest Research:

Bhorat, H. and Naidoo, K. (2015) "Africa’s Jobs Challenge". In: Africa at a Fork in the Road: Taking Off or Disappointment Once Again?, e-book edited by E. Zedillo, O. Cattaneo and H. Wheeler. Published by the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Chapter 9, pp. 145-162. Available at:

Bhorat, H., Kanbur, R. and Stanwix, B. (2014) "Estimating the Impact of Minimum Wages on Employment, Wages, and Non-wage Benefits: The Case of Agriculture in South Africa", American Journal of Agricultural Economics (2014) October, 96(5): 1402–1419.
Bhorat, H., Hirsch, A., Kanbur, R. and Ncube, M. (December 2013) "Economic Policy in South Africa: Past Present and Future". (Editors’ introduction to the forthcoming Oxford University Press Oxford Companion to the Economics of South Africa).

Bhorat, H., Naidoo, K. and Yu, D. (2014). "African Trade Unions—The Case of South Africa" in 'Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa: Current and Emerging Issues', Oxford University Press, edited by Erik Thorbecke and Andy McKay. FORTHCOMING.

Bhorat, H., Naidoo, K. and Yu, D. (2014). "Trade Unions in an Emerging Economy: The Case of South Africa", in The Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics, edited by Justin Lin & Celestin Monga. FORTHCOMING.

Bhorat, H., Kanbur, R., and Mayet, N. (2013). "A Note on Measuring the Depth of Minimum Wage Violation", Labour: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations. Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 192–197, April 2013.

Bhorat, H. and Goga, S. (2013). "The Gender Wage Gap in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Re-examination", Journal of African Economies. Volume 22 Issue 2, March 2013.

Bhorat, H., Kanbur, R., and Mayet, N. (2013). "The Impact of Sectoral Minimum Wage Laws on Employment, Wages, and Hours of Work in South Africa", IZA Journal of Labor and Development, 2(1) January 2013.


  • –present
    Professor of Economics and Director of the Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town