PhD colloquium Reply

For undergrad students who may not be familiar with the term, a colloquium is an academic get-together where people talk about their research. This morning three prospective PhD students in the School of Economics took the opportunity to present their research proposals. We were treated to some interesting plans for PhD theses.

Requier on Africa, oil and FDI

Mr Requier Wait spoke on the topic of foreign direct investment in the oil sector in Africa. He is focussing on the design of the so-called petroleum fiscal system and the development of a measure of the impact of FDI. Investment in the oil sector has direct and indirect benefits for the host country and these need to be taken into account in the design of the deals between the host countries and oil companies.

We had an interesting discussion on the macro- and micro-level links, spillovers and resource curses. It is an wide-ranging topic with many possible spillovers for research.

Another colleague who presented was Me Carike Claassen. She is tackling the state of decoupling between emerging and developed economies. There was some interesting information about the co-movement of business cycles in the world economy and how this has changed over the years. Emerging economies and re-emerging economies were discussed along with wild speculation from the floor about global value chains and macro-level, aggregate demand fluctuations. Prof Krugell argued that it is impossible to not believe in globalisation!

Carike on business cycles

Carike proposes to undertake Dynamic Factor Analysis to examine the state of decoupling and/or recoupling of economies. The specific focus will be on the period following the Great Recession of 2008. She is planning three possible articles examining decoupling of the emerging South and the North, between the developing South and the rest as well as between China and the North.

The results could have some interesting implications for policy makers. The changing economic and political structure of the world has important implications for foreign policy, trade, investment and growth.  Identifying economies which are decoupling from the West and contributing towards the restructuring of the global economic system will help to inform policy makers on decisions in these regards.

The third presentation of the day was on the Finance/ Risk Management side of the School. Mr Francois van Dyk (who is currently at UNISA) proposed to examine hedge fund performance measures under different economic conditions.

Just filling out the paperwork to get the study going!

In the world of investments, measuring performance is about risk and return. In his presentation Francois explained that traditional risk-adjusted performance measures are not complete and are to a large extent one-dimensional, as they do not implicitly include or measure all components of risk. However, investors rely on the traditional performance measures to evaluate the risk-adjusted performance
of investments. In addition, these widely used traditional performance measures are one-dimensional risk assessment measures, as each measure includes only a particular component of risk and thus leaves other risk components or dimensions untouched. For his PhD he is asking: Can additional tools be identified for hedge fund investors that characterise additional risk components not considered by traditional performance measures? To answer this question he plans to evaluate the bias ratio, omega ratio and portfolio diversification index – with the end result being a risk dashboard for hedge fund investors.

It is all interesting work and from the School’s side we want to wish students and promoters the best of luck.

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