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Annual Report 2009

27 September 2009

Economic Research Southern Africa (ERSA) is an initiative focussed on the promotion of increasing the depth and breadth of research in economics in South Africa.  ERSA currently employs a number of mechanisms designed to facilitate research activity in economics:

  • The Research Group Programme.
  • A Working Paper and Policy Paper series.
  • A Workshop Series.
  • An Academic Visitorship programme.
  • A programme of prizes for the best economics students in South Africa.
  • A Scholarship Programme in Graduate Studies in Economics.

 

During the 2007/2008 period, the core programmes of ERSA saw considerable, sometimes explosive growth, while 2008/2009 was a period of consolidation of existing initiatives. In my view, this is reassuring evidence of a growing maturity of the ERSA mechanisms, especially since the evidence particularly from the various paper series published by ERSA is suggestive of growing quality of output.  On the other hand, there is continued evidence of dynamic, new developments. This is evidenced by the establishment of new research groups, and the development of the ERSA Scholarship Programme.  For the Working and Policy Paper series, submissions have now reached a steady flow that represents a more manageable commitment for the ERSA editorial team, as well as the referees on which ERSA relies. In addition, the editorial procedures that are followed in managing ERSA submissions have now also gone through several rounds of fine-tuning, by means of the ongoing interaction of the editorial team and the ERSA Academic Board.  Through each iteration of the interaction between the editorial team and Academic Board, it has become clear that the editorial process is reaching a steady state, with fewer and fewer ambiguities and changes requiring attention.

On the other hand, there is continued evidence of dynamic, new developments. This is evidenced by the establishment of new research groups, and the development of the ERSA Scholarship Programme. For the Working and Policy Paper series, submissions have now reached a steady flow that represents a more manageable commitment for the ERSA editorial team, as well as the referees on which ERSA relies. In addition, the editorial procedures that are followed in managing ERSA submissions have now also gone through several rounds of fine-tuning, by means of the ongoing interaction of the editorial team and the ERSA Academic Board. Through each iteration of the interaction between the editorial team and Academic Board, it has become clear that the editorial process is reaching a steady state, with fewer and fewer ambiguities and changes requiring attention.

Perhaps the strongest indication of the fact that the Working and Policy paper series is having its intended effect comes from the publications statistics of the series. To date, ERSA has published 117 Working Papers, and 14 Policy Papers. The papers show a wide coverage of economics, with publications appearing in no less than 17 of the 20 feasible specialisation categories that the Journal of Economic Literature recognises.

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