Over the past year Prof Marianne Matthee and Carli Bezuidenhout (as PhD student) have been working on a unique research project. In collaboration with UNU-Wider, the National Treasury and SARS they have been using administrative data to examine exports and productivity at firm-level in South Africa. The team also included Prof Neil Rankin from Stellenbosch University and his PhD student Tasha Naughtin. Yesterday they presented the first round of results to the media and other academics in the project at a workshop in Pretoria. Their results show that South Africa’s exports are driven by the large multi-country, multi-product exporters.
Other teams in this project looked at the two-way traders: exporters that use imported inputs, at firm investment, at total factor productivity, at market concentration and mark-ups, as well as at the impact of taxes on sales and profitability. These are exciting times for applied micro researchers interested in firm-level analysis.