News from the School, September edition 1

Following the short spring break the economists are back in the office and there a few bits of news to share:

And here are a few photos from #essa2013.

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Conference news: ESSA2013 Reply

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This week UFS and Bloemfontein is playing host to some of the best brains in Economics research in South Africa at the Biennial Conference of the Economic Society of South Africa.

There are many interesting papers on the programme. Check out the web site at www.essa2013.org.za

Staff of the School of Economics will also present their latest work:

  • Waldo Krugell with Melville Saayman: Willingness to pay for a green event – evidence from the Wacky Wine Festival.
  • Francois van Dyk (PhD student) with Gary van Vuuren: Hedge fund performance evaluation using the Sharpe and Omega ratios.
  • Anmar Pretorius with Alain Kabundi: South Africa’s stock market integration with developed and emerging markets.
  • Carike Claasen with Elsabe Loots and Alain Kabundi: Decoupling between emerging and advanced economies: An exploratory analysis.
  • Ewert Kleynhans: A microeconomic analysis of the level of optimisation of the capital and labour input base of the South African petroleum industry.
  • Requier Wait with Riaan Rossouw: The economic benefits of shale gas extraction in the Southern Karoo.
  • Ferdinand Niyimbanira (PhD student) with Waldo Krugell: More about the good Samaritans: Characteristics of volunteers in South Africa.
  • Alicia Fourie: Determining the efficiency of the TUCE in South Africa.

You can follow our updates under the essa2013 hashtag on Twitter.

News: Philip Mohr awarded the Stals Prize for Economics Reply

Prof Philip Mohr was awarded the Stals Prize for Economics by the South African Academy of Science and Arts on 13 September 2013 in Stellenbosch. In his commendation, Prof Estian Calitz said Prof Mohr is a highly regarded South African economist. During this ceremony, the SA Academy (Die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns) also awarded prizes such as the Herzog Prize for Drama, as well as the MT Steyn Medal for Science and Technology.

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During his professional life, Prof Mohr’s knowledge was especially transferred to economists and non-economists through highly acclaimed text books, both in English and Afrikaans, and through numerous articles in accredited peer-reviewed journals, as well as on stage: as a lecturer at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Unisa; as guest lecturer at various universities; and as presenter of 90 papers to professional and other audiences in South Africa and elsewhere.

Various government commissions and policy bodies have also utilised his expertise.

In a world that is easily pleased by instant answers, he was never satisfied with superficial analyses, work of poor quality and inaccuracy tolerated. He places a high premium on independent opinion and critical thinking. Philip Mohr deserves to be honoured as a scientist of note and economist of excellence.

The School of Economics, at the North-West University in Potchefstroom is especially proud of the award as this was the second Stals Price winner in a row that Prof Ewert Kleynhans has nominated. His work at the national level at the SA Academy is of great value to the School.

Research: Political independence of the SARB Reply

Our Research posts are about the latest academic research being done in the School of Economics. This week:

Political Independence of the South African Reserve Bank: Managing Interest Rates

by Prof. E.P.J. Kleynhans & Ryan Meintjes

Prof Kleynhans

Prof Kleynhans

This study ascertained whether the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is politically independent and able to operate without undue external influence. South Africa’s Constitution states that the SARB must act independently and without fear, favour or prejudice. However, the SARB is under increasing pressure from government and the trade unions to shift its monetary policy stance in order to boost the country’s competitiveness. Whether these external demands have actually compromised its independence at times has been the subject of debate. If the SARB is indeed succumbing to external influence, it could mean that monetary policy in South Africa is leaning too heavily in the direction of short-term growth while inflationary pressures loom.

The study comprised a literature review, and econometric analysis of the Bank’s independence. Movements in interest rates were used as an indicator of dependence. More…