Social grants to promote youth employment: some policy options

Development Southern Africa. Vol. 31, No. 2, 347–362. 2014.

South African youth experience extremely high levels of unemployment and poverty. Currently there is no social assistance for low-income young adults in South Africa unless they are disabled. Interventions are needed that can achieve widespread poverty alleviation, as well as help facilitate economic participation to improve lifelong earnings. In this article, six examples of social security policy options are considered, including five grants ranging from an unconditional non-means-tested grant for young people to a conditional grant for young people in training or education, plus an ‘Opportunities voucher’ that is administered through the social security system but paid out to organisations offering youth education or work opportunities. Using a tax and benefit microsimulation model to simulate the five grants, we estimate the potential numbers reached and cost, as well as the impact of these six options on poverty.