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.
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The competitive effects of telecommunications transactions and the related impact that they have on economic growth and employment are influenced by the regulatory environment that governs the sector. In South Africa, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is responsible for implementing and enforcing ex ante regulation, while the Competition Commission’s role is to identify and remedy anti-competitive behaviour.
The impact of financial development on economic growth has received much attention in recent literature. However, there are potential discontinuities mediating finance–growth nexus that existing empirical studies have not rigorously examined. This study investigates whether the impact of finance on economic growth is conditioned on the initial levels of countries’ income per capita, human capital and financial development for 29 sub–Saharan Africa countries over the period 1980–2014 using a sample splitting and threshold estimation technique.
This study considers whether and how competition in the DSL market affects the incentives of operators to invest in the deployment of high-end fibre optic networks. Most earlier research on the drivers of investment in broadband technology has focused on the effect of open access policies, such as local loop unbundling, or competing infrastructures. We posit that competition in the DSL sector may also influence fibre penetration, possibly to a considerable extent.
We find that the relationship between service-based competition and fibre penetration is non-linear: low DSL competition is correlated with a negative effect on fibre penetration, but as an intermediate degree of competition is created, more service-based competition may positively influence fibre penetration. This is however only up to a point, where after DSL competition becomes so severe that it limits further fibre penetration. This finding should inform competition authorities’ – such as the Competition Commission – assessment of mergers in the DSL broadband sector. It illustrates that, while it is important to evaluate the effect that broadband mergers may have on the price and quality of DSL services (through improving allocative efficiency), it is equally important to consider the dynamic efficiency effects that such mergers may bring about.
A second important finding is that the scale of these effects varies with the openness of the DSL market: operators’ incentives to invest in fibre appear to be more sensitive to changes in DSL competition if there are extensive open access policies, such as local loop unbundling. This suggests certain nuances to the argument that service-based competition typically has a negative impact on investment in fibre, in that the effect of a change in DSL market concentration on fibre penetration varies with the degree of unbundling that is present. If a country has extensive local loop unbundling, operators’ incentives to invest appear to be more sensitive to changes in DSL competition than if there is limited unbundling. Policy makers need to be aware of this potential medium-term trade-off between implementing mandatory access and encouraging fibre penetration.
Our findings show that achieving the right level of competition may help encourage investment in fibre, and that the existing degree of competition influences the effect that open access policies may have on increasing fibre penetration. South Africa should draw from the experience of the European countries considered in this study, in developing its own policy for fibre broadband rollout. The finding that mandatory access policies in combination with existing competition in the DSL market has implications for future investment in fibre is especially relevant within the context of the open access broadband network called for by the ICT White Paper.
South African households, like households in many other developing countries, are faced with regular power outages. This is a big problem, since the outages that the households experience are both frequent and long in duration. Efficient electricity infrastructure investment decisions are possible only if the welfare loss of electricity blackouts is determined. We estimate a measure for welfare analysis. The surveys were conducted using electronic equipment (gadgets/tablets) instead of the orthodox paper method. We subject respondents to eight power outage scenarios.
The objective of our study is to investigate households’ attitudes and willingness to pay (WTP) for the proposed second nuclear power plant in South Africa. Traditional analysis of such data has tended to ignore zero WTP values. A spike model which explicitly accounts for zero WTP is employed. We also test for effect of distance on WTP. The proximity to the nuclear plant dummy is negative and significant in the probit model, which implies that those who are closer to the plant are more likely to state a zero WTP.
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.