Economics honours students take to the streets for research Reply

The months of September and October were very busy months for the Development Economics Honours class.  The lecturer (Prof Derick Blaauw) initiated a class project on day labouring in the informal economy in Potchefstroom. The project forms part of a bigger inter-disciplinary project with the lecturers from Anthropology. All ethical clearances were obtained as required by research protocol. Day labourers research

The aim of the project was to answer questions such as, who are the day labourers, and what are their employment histories in terms of formal sector jobs and experience? The class went through all the steps of survey research of this nature.  Time was spent on recognizance to determine the places where the day labourers congregate to find temporary employment for a day or more. Records were kept and in the meantime a survey instrument was developed with everyone’s inputs. Prof Blaauw combined the questions and a questionnaire was compiled. The lecturer and students then embarked on the field work. The experience brought the students closer to the reality of being unemployed and then it was no longer merely a statistic in book or on a web site. The endeavors of real people at the coal face of an economy that cannot absorb them provided a reality check and a connection to the real world not possible to achieve by only staying in the comfort of an air conditioned classroom.

The data has now been captured and the 75 respondents’ data will be used for analysis by the students. We will report in the findings in due course. This will be shared with relevant parties and the students expressed the need for this to be the start of long term project with tangible results and the buy in of relevant role-players such as the municipality to improve the lives of these men on the side of the road. The lecturer agrees!

A renaissance reconsidered Reply

Waldo Krugell:

We don’t have very active economic history researchers in our School, but we are keen on following developments in this field and have a few proud members of the Economic History Society of South Africa. If you think that we have to know how we got here in order to know where we are going, you are going to find this post interesting (and you need to start following Johan’s blog)…

Originally posted on Johan Fourie's blog:


The 2014 African Economic History Workshop, ably organised by Leigh Gardner (centre), kicks off at the LSE.

Last week I attended the African Economic History Workshop at the London School of Economics. It was an excellent workshop, with 40 high-quality papers presented and more than 70 attendees. That is remarkable growth if you consider the previous African Economic History Workshop I attended, in Geneva in 2012, attracted around 10 papers and perhaps not more than 25 participants.

EHRAfricaThe reasons for the renewed interest in African economic history is discussed in the introduction to a new special issue of the Economic History Review entitled The Renaissance of African Economic History, incidentally the same title I used in a blog post in October last year. African economies are rising, if you haven’t heard, and with it comes greater interest in understanding the long-term determinants of this rise in prosperity. For long, much of the literature focused on the…

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Research: Using the TRADE-DSM to find viable export opportunities 1

At TRADE the flagship model is the Decision Support Model used to identify export opportunities. Earlier Prof Wilma Viviers wrote a nice piece for the Mail and Guardian on how the TRADE-DSM Navigator can be used to identify markets for South African fruit exports. The model identifies export opportunities in terms of products and markets and takes account of factors such as country risk, logistics costs, trade barriers and the market potential. You can read more about it here.

Fruit exports M&G

News from the School Reply

October is just flying and in the School of Economics we have been busy with the last few assessments and sorting out the participation marks ahead of the exam. We do have a few small bits of news.

20141017_092001On Friday Dr Andre Heymans and a group of Honours students visited Senwes. They were treated to the whole tour and learned more about the trading and hedging done by this major agriculture player.

Earlier this month Prof Derick Blaauw attended an ERSA workshop of the Micro-, Labour Economics and Poverty group in Ballito. The topic of the Workshop was the foundations of Labour Economics. During the Workshop prominent labour economists from UKZN, UCT and Stellenbosch University presented lectures on the essential foundations of labour economics. Topics covered included:

  • Schooling and Earnings,
  • Discrimination,
  • Labour Demand,
  • Labour Supply and
  • Aggregate labour markets

This will form the foundation of future labour workshops, sponsored by ERSA.