Happy blogiversary! 1

This blog turns 2 today! On the 23rd of April 2012 we make the first Welcome post and since we have been blogging as if we do not know the meaning of opportunity cost.

HT Chris Blattman

HT Chris Blattman

Over the past year we made 81 posts (compared to 167 in the previous year). The all-time views are 30933 with 15274 in the past year, so per post we are doing well. Our busiest day in the past year was 2 May 2013 with a total of 255 views.

Our top-5 pages in the past year were:

the Home page,
ATKV debate page,
The economic resources page, specifically the part on the circular flow of economic activity,
the Research page, and
the TRADE page.

The top-5 posts that got the most views over the past year were:

The impact of tourism on poverty in South Africa.
BRICS: Who are they, where are they going, do they really matter?
The strong-Rand, weak-Rand debate.
The socio-economic impact of the Table Mountain National Park.
Does conservation make sense to local communities?

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the contributors of original posts and those whose posts we could reblog. A big thank you goes out to everyone who follow the blog, the people who have commented on posts, the regular and infrequent readers.


Research: Street waste pickers 2

The Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-being Research has just been published and we are proud to say that it also includes work by our colleague Prof Derick Blaauw. Encyclo QoL The research is about street waste pickers in Pretoria and he has provided us with an excerpt:

Summary of key characteristics of street waste pickers in Pretoria:

“The average street waste picker in Pretoria is between the ages of 40 and 49, male, black, mostly unskilled, has a low level of education, and exists outside the formal employment sector. The typical street waste picker earned around R50 per day in 2010 in Pretoria. It is therefore evident that waste pickers do not earn enough to support a family, but engage in this activity in order to survive and sustain themselves. It is very difficult to support his dependents. It does little to strengthen family ties, as his family live in a remote rural area.

Most waste pickers were observed as working independently, but they stayed together at night, sleeping in groups on the streets of the city as a measure of protection against criminal activities. They are forced to make use of the goodwill of the buy-back centres and filling stations for basic facilities such as water and toilets, and if these are not available, open spaces and natural resources are used. As most of the street waste pickers are from the rural areas, they sleep and live on the streets, and in the bushes and along the rivers. They sleep and cook on the pavements, as they have no other facilities. More…

Research: Hedge fund performance evaluation 2

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

Hedge fund performance evaluation using the Sharpe and Omega ratio’s

by Francois van Dyk, Gary van Vuuren and Andre Heymans







The Sharpe ratio is widely used as a performance evaluation measure for traditional (i.e. long only) investment funds as well as less-conventional fund s such as hedge funds. Based on mean-variance theory, the Sharpe ratio only considers the first two moments of return distributions, so hedge funds – characterised by asymmetric, highly-skewed returns with non-negligible higher moments – may be misdiagnosed in terms of performance. The Sharpe ratio is also susceptible to manipulation and estimation error. These drawbacks have demonstrated the need for augmented measures, or, in some cases, replacement fund performance metrics. Over the period January 2000 to December 2011 the monthly returns of 184 international long/short (equity) hedge funds with geographical investment mandates spanning North America, Europe and Asia were examined. This study compares results obtained using the Sharpe ratio (in which returns are assumed to be serially uncorrelated) with those obtained using a technique which does account for serial return correlation. Standard technique s for annualising Sharpe ratios, based on monthly estimators, do not account for this effect . In addition, this study assesses whether the Omega ratio supplements the Sharpe Ratio in the evaluation of hedge fund risk and thus in the investment decision-making process. The Omega and Sharpe ratios were estimated on a rolling basis to ascertain whether the Omega ratio does indeed provide useful additional information to investors to that provided by the Sharpe ratio alone.