Rocco Zizzamia

Research Student

Rocco is a DPhil candidate at the Oxford Department of International Development, having returned to the department after graduating from Oxford in 2018 with an MPhil in Development Studies. He also holds a BA (Hons) in Economic History and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Cape Town. 

Rocco has worked as a researcher for the Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) at the University of Cape Town since 2016. His previous experience also includes consulting work for the World Bank (2017-2018) and a visiting appointment at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies in Hamburg (2018). 

His research interests are regionally focused on South Africa, where he studies poverty, inequality and labour markets. He is currently pursuing an interest in using experimental methods to investigate policies to improve youth employment outcomes in South Africa.


In the media
Barriers to youth employment in South Africa

Journal articles and special issues

Zizzamia, Rocco (with Ihsaan Bassier, Joshua Budlender, Murray Leibbrandt, Vimal Ranchhod) (2021) 'Locked down and locked out: Repurposing social assistance as emergency relief to informal workers', World Development 139
Zizzamia, Rocco (with Schotte, S & Leibbrandt, M) (2018) 'A poverty dynamics approach to social stratification: The South African case.', World Development 110 88-103


Zizzamia, Rocco (with Leibbrandt, M. & Schotte, S) (2019) 'Tackling persistent poverty and inequality: A dynamic perspective'. In M.S. Smith (ed) Confronting Inequality: The South African Crisis , Jacana Media
22 Jul, 2020
'Covid-19 has throttled South Africa’s economy'. The Economist highlights research co-authored by DPhil Rocco Zizzamia on the impact of the pandemic on employment and poverty in South Africa
15 Jul, 2020
'"‘Distress grant" misses the mark'. Business Live features research by DPhil Rocco Zizzamia and others on the impact of Covid-19 response in South Africa
07 Apr, 2020
'South Africa’s army of informal workers face destitution'. DPhil Rocco Zizzamia talks to Financial Times about the pandemic's impact on South Africa's economy and the importance of a package of support to informal workers
01 Apr, 2020
'South Africa can - and should - top up child support grants to avoid a humanitarian crisis'. DPhil Rocco Zizzamia co-authored an article for the Conversation on the implications of the pandemic for precarious families in South Africa
Research interests:

Labour economics, youth unemployment, social policy, poverty dynamics, South Africa, mixed-methods