Research interests & potential graduate student supervision topics

  1. The economic impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on the economy. In South Africa, the National Income Dynamics Study - Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (NIDS-CRAM) investigated the impacts on a sample of adults. Data is freely available from Data First. Reports on each wave of data collection is available on the CRAM survey website. The Financial Mail has published a synopsis of my coauthored paper on employment, and The Economist(subscription required) has published a synopsis of the findings of Wave 1 of the survey. For my paper evaluating employment uncertainty, download article here.

  1. Catalysing the circular economy, implementing green industrial policy, and incorporating market-based approaches to environmental management. I have taught on this topic and been involved in various private and public sector initiatives in this regard. I was part of the team that contributed to this 2021 book on using market-based approaches for environmental management in Asia. A brief summary of the recommendations for urban waste can be found in the Development Asia article here. [BTW: the same is needed for Africa; urgently!]

  1. Transitioning economic growth paths to lower carbon trajectories and developing suitable technologies for this purpose. One focus here is on modeling this appropriately using computable general equilibrium models, life cycle analyses or complex systems methods. For media friendly coverage of some of my work in this area, see this Daily Maverick article. An interesting corollary is the innovations necessary to assist this transition, particularly the confluence of fourth industrial revolution technologies in improving such capabilities. See World Economic Forum's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

  1. Productivity, innovation and firm performance at the national, regional or international level. For firm survey data for countries from all over the world (including South Africa), see Enterprise Surveys. For an example of salient work in this field, see: "Fostering technology absorption in Southern African enterprises".

  1. Data quality assessment frameworks and statistical classification and accounting systems for micro data and macro data. For household, firm and national accounts frameworks, see United Nations Statistics Division – Statistical Classifications. For an example of my work in this area, see my book: "How data quality affects our understanding of the earnings distribution".

  1. The measurement of economic, environmental and social progress. What are the correct indicators & how do we do this at micro level and at macro level? For pros & cons of 7 alternatives including: "gross national happiness", "thriving places index", "happy planet index", "human development index", "green gross domestic product index", "genuine progress indicator", "better life index" (SA ranks last on this one), see here. For related work and an introduction to the System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting, see here. To calculate the carbon footprint of your activities, home or business, see here.

  1. Dual land tenure systems and their implications for both rural and urban economic development. South Africa has an existing private property rights system coexisting with communal property rights administered in Tribal Authority Areas. The National Income Dynamics Study allows for identification of important variables that help distinguish these systems and allows for good research work on this theme.

  1. Theoretical and empirical economics related to income, consumption, savings, credit & wealth at either the micro or macro level. For South African micro data, see the National Income Dynamics Study. For South African macro data, see the South Africa Reserve Bank. Aggregation problems between micro and macro data are also topical. For comparative country analyses with similar data see here and here.

Click here for DataFirst open data portal, and here for University of Cape Town Libraries databases