Martin Gustafsson

Researcher and Advisor to the Department of Basic Education

Martin is a researcher with the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University, from which he obtained his Master’s degree in 2006 and PhD in 2014, the latter being on the role of education in economic development.

Martin is a part of the RESEP team but is based in Pretoria, where he works as an advisor for the Department of Basic Education. His areas of specialisation include the use of economics in education planning, the design of school funding policies, the economics of teacher pay, the demographics of schooling systems and cross-country comparisons of educational policy and performance.

Floor effects and the comparability of developing country student test scores

The report serves as a background paper to UNESCO’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR).
June 26, 2020 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Call for Comment on Report: Education and Skills for the Economy and Links to Labour Markets in South Africa

A report by RESEP's Servaas van der Berg, Martin Gustafsson, and Kholekile Malindi titled Education and Skills for the Economy and Links to Labour Markets in…
June 9, 2020 By: Martin Gustafsson, Servaas van der Berg, Kholekile Malindi PDF

Common Questions about South Africa’s Covid-19 Response Answered using the International OxCGRT Dataset

I use the latest (16 May) version of the OxCGRT dataset to answer three fairly common questions about COVID-19 in the South African context. The…
May 20, 2020 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

How does South Africa’s Covid-19 Response Compare Globally? A Preliminary Analysis using the new OxCGRT Dataset

How does South Africa’s Covid-19 response compare globally? A preliminary analysis using the new OxCGRT dataset   A 19 May 2020 update of aspects of…
April 17, 2020 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

A revised PIRLS 2011 to 2016 trend for South Africa and the importance of analysing the underlying microdata

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP02/2020
Given South Africa’s weak performance in international testing programmes, there is a strong interest in gauging improvements within these programmes.
February 21, 2020 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Understanding the sharp primary level enrolment increases beginning in 2011

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP08/2018
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP08/2018 Publication date: May 2018 Abstract: Enrolments at the primary level in South Africa increased sharply from around 2011. Over…
July 19, 2018 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Rotten apples or just apples and pears? Understanding patterns consistent with cheating in international test data

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP17/2017
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP17/2017 Publication date: December 2017 Abstract: The Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) programme has succeeded…
July 16, 2018 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Teacher supply and the quality of schooling in South Africa. Patterns over space and time

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP03/2016
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP03/2016 Abstract: The paper addresses policy questions in South Africa’s education system using a newly merged 1999 to 2013 panel…
July 4, 2018 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Treating schools to a new administration: Evidence from South Africa of the impact of better practices in the system-level administration of schools

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP05/2016
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP05/2016 Abstract: School examination results are far from ideal measures of progress in schooling systems, yet if analysed with sufficient…
July 4, 2018 By: Martin Gustafsson, Stephen Taylor PDF

Treating schools to a new administration: Evidence of the impact of better practices in the system-level administration of schools

Gustafsson, M. and Taylor, S., 2018. Treating Schools to a New Administration: Evidence of the Impact of Better Practices in the System-Level Administration of Schools.…
May 7, 2018 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Using the hierarchical linear model to understand school production in South Africa

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01/2007
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP01/2007 Abstract: The emphasis placed in the existing South African school production function literature on better skilled teachers and better…
October 17, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

What we can learn from a comparison of the schooling systems of South Africa and Argentina

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP17/2008
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP17/2008 Abstract: An existing accounting framework to describe an education system is elaborated and used as a framework for understanding…
October 17, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson, Alejandro Morduchowicz PDF

Managing the teacher pay system: What the local and international data are telling us

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP26/2009
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP26/2009 Abstract: A review of a few input-output models indicates the importance of teacher ability, which may be independent of…
October 17, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson, Firoz Patel PDF

Policy note on pre-primary schooling: An empirical contribution to the 2009 Medium Term Strategic Framework

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP05/2010
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP05/2010 Abstract: Various data analysis approaches are used to gauge recent pre-primary enrolment trends in South Africa and the level…
October 17, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

South Africa’s economics of education: A stocktaking and an agenda for the way forward

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP06/2010
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP06/2010 Abstract: The paper reviews some of the existing economics of education literature from the perspective of South Africa’s education…
October 17, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson, Thabo Mabogoane PDF

The costs of illiteracy in South Africa

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP14/2010
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP14/2010 Abstract: In South Africa, there has been a surge in publicly funded adult literacy education in recent years. There…

Identifying Binding Constraints in Education

Synthesis Report for the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development (PSPPD) This research report provides an overview of a large research project undertaken by a…

The when and how of leaving school: The policy implications of new evidence on secondary schooling in South Africa

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP09/2011
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP09/2011 Abstract: South African and international household and education datasets are analysed to characterise patterns of dropping out, grade repetition,…
October 16, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

More countries, similar results. A nonlinear programming approach to normalising test scores needed for growth regressions

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP12/2012
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP12/2012 Abstract: Analysts such as Hanushek and Woessman have brought to the fore the deceptiveness of education enrolments, or years…
October 16, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

The gap between school enrolments and population in South Africa: Analysis of the possible explanations.

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP23/2012
Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP23/2012 Abstract: In South Africa, like in many developing countries, the differences between enrolment totals, estimated by the education authorities,…
October 16, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

New evidence in the case for improving the quality of secondary school learning outcomes

Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 01/2011
Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 01/2011 Abstract: A recent paper, based on new household survey data, finds that pre-final year completion rates in South African secondary…
October 16, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Recent patterns in the extent and quality of pre-primary education in South Africa

Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 02/2010
Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 02/2010 Abstract: A recent paper, using new household data, indicates that the percentage of Grade 1 learners who have experienced pre-primary…
October 16, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

SA data shows large and unexpected increase in births around 2004

This article originally appeared on the Business Day website as a partially edited version, which can be found here. For the original article, please read…
July 17, 2017 By: Martin Gustafsson, RESEP PDF

Enrolment ratios and related puzzles in developing countries: Approaches for interrogating the data drawing from the case of South Africa

  Abstract Available developing country enrolment ratios are frequently inaccurate. This results in poorly informed policy discourses. Underlying data problems can undermine funding systems. The…
May 7, 2015 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

Education and Country Growth Models

Thesis (PhD)—University of Stellenbosch, 2014
  PhD Thesis  Candidate: Martin Gustafsson Supervisor: Professor Servaas van der Berg Institution: Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Department of Economics Abstract The over-arching concern…

More countries, similar results: A nonlinear programming approach to normalising test scores needed for growth regressions

  Abstract Analysts such as Hanushek and Woessman have brought to the fore the deceptiveness of education enrolments, or years of schooling, in growth regressions…
May 10, 2013 By: Martin Gustafsson PDF

South Africa’s economics of education: A stocktaking and an agenda for the way forward

  Abstract The paper reviews some of the existing economics of education literature from the perspective of South Africa’s education policymaking needs. It also puts…
May 10, 2012 By: Martin Gustafsson, Thabo Mabogoane PDF

Undoing the apartheid legacy: Pro-poor spending shifts in the South African public school system

Abstract By using a consolidated dataset of schools derived from a range of administrative systems, it is shown that overall public spending in the schooling…
May 10, 2006 By: Martin Gustafsson, Firoz Patel PDF