About the Econ3x3 forum

Econ3x3 is an independent forum for critical public debate on unemployment and employment, income distri­bution and inclu­sive growth in South Africa. It publishes accessible research based contribu­tions and expert commentaries. The forum encourages debate on an inte­grated and consistent policy response to unemployment, inequality and poverty and a stronger engagement between research and policy making. We invite contributions from economists and other social science researchers, policymakers and relevant experts.

The forum is an initiative of the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth – a national collaborative, independent research initiative supported by the National Treasury and based at SALDRU at the University of Cape Town. This research project is aimed at deepening our understanding of the dynamics of employment and unemployment, incomes and social outcomes and, notably, the interconnections between these three areas.

The project is designed to promote dialogue across disciplines and paradigms, forge a stronger engagement between research and policy making and contribute to coordinated, consistent and effective economic and social policies directed at the three aforementioned critical problem areas (unemployment, inequality and poverty).

A key objective of this project is to promote an informed public discourse on these three problems and, especially, related policy issues. To this end, the project has initiated this online forum to provide a platform for concise, accessible, policy-relevant, research-based contributions and expert commentaries relating to these issues.

As such the focus of the forum is on underlying, longer-term, structural relationships and dynamics rather than short-term or cyclical elements. While it is not a general economics forum and has a specific focus, its scope is quite broad – as the list of topics indicate – and multidisciplinary discussions are most welcome.

Contributions to Econ3x3 are at a higher analytical level than the typical op-ed or feature article in quality newspapers, but are much more accessible than an academic journal article.The intended target audience includes the following: independent policy researchers; academic economists; private sector economists; public sector economists; policymakers and government officials; members of parliament and parliamentary committees; members of cabinet at various levels; journalists specialising in social and economic policy, economics, finance and business and their readers, readers of feature articles in quality newspapers and serious news magazines; senior and postgraduate students.

The forum provides a unique platform for researchers to get their research findings into the public domain and in the public eye, including the media. It is intended to facilitate more active and more frequent debate with colleagues and policymakers than is possible through academic journals and academic conferences. It provides policymakers with a unique opportunity to engage at an analytical level with the research community, with colleagues as well as with private sector analysts.

Readers can elect to be regularly informed of new postings via an email, Twitter or RSS message by subscribing to our notification service. Postings can also be shared with friends and colleagues via email, Twitter or Facebook, and can be downloaded as PDFs, at no cost.


  • The Econ3x3 forum is independent and is not linked in any way to any political movement or party. 

  • The views expressed in all of the Econ3x3 contributions are those of their authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor or Editorial Advisors, the Project Management or Steering Committee, any institution with which any of them are affiliated, or the National Treasury. 

  • By submitting an article to Econ3x3, you confirm that it is your original work; that the article as such is not simultaneously under consideration for another print or online publication; that the work does not contain anything the publication of which would violate any copyright; that it contains nothing that is defamatory or unlawful, or that infringes any privacy, proprietary or statutory rights; and that you agree to indemnify Econ3x3 against any claim to the contrary.

Forum name and logo

The three interlocking triangles and the 3x3 element (3 by 3, not 3 times 3) reflect key characteristics of the approach of the research project and of the forum. These include the following aspects:

  • that the three major socio-economic problems of unemployment, inequality and poverty are interlinked and inseparable – and that it will require an integrated policy approach to get a grip (as in '4x4') on these three problems;
  • that we need researchers from three key discourses, i.e. macroeconomics, labour economics and poverty/development analysis, to work together; but also
  • that we need economic research that engages with other disciplines and across discourses and divides, including ideological divides;
  • that policy analysis needs to engage with all segments of the economy: survivalist, informal and formal; and
  • that we need to pursue policy research using a triangulation of methodologies (quantitative, qualitative, etc.) and the triangulation of data sources.

The forum will endeavour to be a platform that is open to this diversity, this complexity.

Forum partners

  • The National Treasury

  • SALDRU (Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit)

  • University of Cape Town School of Economics

  • University of the Free State Department of Economics