Faculty of Commerce Awards for Excellence was held on Friday 5 May 2017 at the New Lecture Theatre on UCTs Upper Campus. Professor Lawrence Edwards from the School of Economics represented ERSA at the function. View the award gallery page here.
Latest News, Publications and Workshops
This study focuses on scheduled macroeconomic news announcements and evaluates their impact on the volatility of the South African rand (ZAR) and US dollar (USD) exchange rate using high frequency data. The following asymmetries are studied: news items by geographical location, no-news versus surprise news announcements and positive versus negative news announcements. We make the following findings in our empirical study: (i) After the release of a news announcement, the level of foreign exchange volatility rises. This is independent of whether the news item surprised the market or not.
We explore whether there is evidence of property rights amongst the homeless, and if so, how these rights are governed. We show that although the homeless are able to derive some value from assets, and can exclude other members of their community, these rights are precarious and dependent upon state agents not seizing the “property” and overriding the community’s rules of the game. The transferring of assets are especially curtailed.
While decentralized fuel based micro grids have been considered as potential options, they suffer from the problem of volatile fuel prices leaving the mostly low income rural households vulnerable to external shocks. The discourse in sustainable development calls for a shift from the reliance on fossil-based electrification, due its costly consequences on environment in terms of climate change. The use of decentralized renewable energy technologies like solar, micro hydro and even wind for generation of cheaper electricity present a new opportunity for these nations. Although solar home systems have been popularized in countries like Kenya, other renewable energy technologies like micro hydro do receive little or no policy attention.
State agencies particularly rural electrification authorities in developing nations are hesitant to formally deploy small scale interventions like micro hydro grids for electrifying rural households, partly because there is scarcity of evidence on how households might benefit from such small scale technology. Our case study in Kenya demonstrates that micro hydroelectricity can fulfil the primary electricity demand for a rural household located near such a resource. Specifically, we find that such access considerably reduces the amount of kerosene that is consumed in a household. It is our view that with support such as technical aid in repair of in micro hydro schemes, it is possible for these households to completely eliminate the use of kerosene lighting in their households.
Although such a small scale energy may not supply enough electricity for applications such as cooking, we note that cooking and other intense applications are rare events among rural households even with grid electrification due to other impediments cited in literature. Another benefit is that mobile phones can also be conveniently and cheaply charged within the household, therefore reducing instances where mobile handsets have to be taken far away from home for re-charging.
Further, it is widely believed that access to electricity leads to improved education outcomes, because it provides clean and quality reading light. It is important to not this may not be potentially be the case if the change in study time is anything to go by. Our results show that children who live in households with micro hydro connectivity actually study less (by almost an hour) compared to children who have no access to electricity. It’s our view that in the absence of other programs to improve education outcomes, children may become pre-occupied with entertainment enabled by electricity access such as TV watching at the expense of their study time. Further studies tracking the change in other education indicators must also be considered.
The aim of this study was to examine the extent of linkages between business cycle and capital adequacy requirements in South Africa employing the VECM framework. We want to understand the extent to which the imposition of capital adequacy can accentuate and deepen the business cycle in the financial system. The Johansen Cointegration approach was used to ascertain whether there is indeed a long-run co-movement between capital adequacy and business cycle, but first we tested the stationarity of our series under the NG–Perron and KPSS framework, where we established that all the series were I(1), a property essential for cointegration analysis. Results from the tests and VECM model show that there are significant linkages among the variables, especially between capital adequacy and business cycle. In other words, the imposition of a capital adequacy requirement can amplify the business cycle in South Africa.
Call for Application for Skills Development Training in Econometrics
The ERSA is pleased to invite applications for the Skill Development Training Programme in basic Econometrics for academics and postgraduate students (masters and PhD) with limited training in Econometrics and quantitative methods. The skills development initiative is in line with ERSA’s objective to deepen economic research capacity and to train young economists in Southern Africa.
The African Economic History Network, in association with the Laboratory for the Economics Africa's Past at Stellenbosch University, Harvard Univeristy's Center for African Studies and Economic Research Southern Africa announces a Call for Papers.
A well-functioning financial system is key for emerging markets to unlock their growth potential. The financial system of many emerging markets remains in its infancy, however. This conference will address the challenges faced by financial intermediaries in emerging markets.
Economic Research Southern Africa (ERSA) and the Institutions and Political Economy Group (IPEG) at the University of the Witwatersrand invite SA-based researchers with a focus on political economy, including public choice, to participate in the upcoming February 2016 workshop. Contributions, even in progress, on all political economy topics will be considered though preference will be given to: corruption, dictatorship, fiscal federalism, intergovernmental grants, political entrepreneurship, and regulation.