ERSA is a National Funded programme designed to both broaden the scope of economic research in South Africa, and to deepen its quality in order to ensure greater international exposure of economic research conducted in Southern Africa.
Toward this end ERSA publishes a Working Paper series, provides financial incentives to researchers to publish their papers in peer reviewed scholarly journals, run Workshop programmes in 5 core research areas, and provides extensive support to graduate students in economics in Southern Africa.
In line with the recommendations of the five year external review of ERSA which submitted its recommendations in November 2009, ERSA was registered as a Section 21 Company on 23 June 2010. As such, ERSA is no longer reliant on support from any university structures.
Section 21 company status required the development of independent systems of financial control and governance, as well as the development of logistical and financial systems for service delivery under the various ERSA programmes.
While there have been start-up and transition costs involved in the move to independence, the net effect has been an improvement in the efficiency of service delivery, and considerably improved oversight and management of financial processes in particular. In addition overhead costs have been able to be reduced substantially.
For the Working and Policy Paper series of ERSA, the number of published Working Papers has now risen to 217, while 20 Policy Papers and 1 Occasional Paper has been published. The coverage of the papers remains broad, with publications appearing in 17 of the 20 feasible specialization categories that the Journal of Economic Literature recognizes.
Publications in peer reviewed journals associated with the ERSA paper series also continues to rise steadily. The number of published papers has now risen to 89, of which 49 have appeared in international journals, and 40 in South African journals.