Michelle Groenewald reports from the frontline at APORDE.
Allow me to quote a fellow classmate from the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) that I recently attended: “I never would have believed that in a single day you can have your whole world turned upside down”. This program reels you in with the promise of broadening your perspectives on Development Economics and a couple of months later, there lying in your inbox, is an all too innocent email congratulating you on your successful application. What follows is a 2 week course on not broadening, but blowing wide open, all that you had held to be ‘true’. You will be taught to stab and gut, jab and cut away at the Market you had been told was your greatest ally, only to leave it panting and exhausted in a misshapen form, more foe than friend. Here you will learn that ‘free trade’ as the battle tune to which all must march if they are to develop, could rather beat to perhaps the protectionist cadence of a more often untold success story. Few would have considered that perhaps ‘getting prices wrong’ is the way to actually get them right, when the world has undeniably told you otherwise. Could it be that to utter industrial policy, with the state as a key player, is not as blasphemous as had been drilled into the economic cavalry?
Last week Me. Carli Bezuidenhout received guests at our seminar series to speak about informality and inclusive growth. Kezia Lilenstein and Morne Oosthuizen of the DPRU visited and Christina Fernandez joined via Skype.
This research seeks to explore the relationship between informality and inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on South Africa. South Africans typically hold one of two opposing views on the informal sector. The first is that informality should be encouraged as an under-utilised source of new employment; the second is that it should be discouraged as an inferior source of employment. The central research question is therefore: “Do informal labour markets promote or constrain inclusive growth?” In order to examine the hypotheses, they use three different methodologies. Firstly, they undertake a regional evidence synthesis examining literature and case studies from the sub-Saharan Africa region. Secondly, they expand on the South African case study and examine the nature of transitions within the labour market. Thirdly, they examine to what extent income shocks may impact the likelihood of engagement within the informal sector.
You can download the regional evidence paper here.
Prof Derick Blaauw reports from the field:
From 13 to 16 September 2016 Derick Blaauw joined Prof Rinie Schenck of the Department of Social Work at UWC in East London where fieldwork continued on their NRF funded joint research project on day labourers in South Africa. They were joined by 6 field workers, recruited from graduates of the Department of Social work at NMMU and the University of Fort Hare as well as the University of the Western Cape. The Tuesday was spent on training and fieldwork commenced on the Wednesday. More than 150 interviews were held with day labourers across the city during the week. The fieldwork itself brought important ethical issues as well as the theme of social justice to the fore.
Prof Lucas Ferraz
This week TRADE is hosting Prof Lucas Ferraz of the Fundação Getulio Vargas and the Sao Paulo School of Economics for some GTAP research. GTAP stands for the Global Trade Analysis Project and is all about using general equilibrium models to analyse trade issues.
Yesterday Lucas presented a one-day introductory training workshop to staff and PhD students, giving us a taste of what the model can do. He showed an interesting simulation of the impact of a reduction in non-tariff barriers on trade between the EU-25 and Sub-Saharan African countries.
Today he will spend some more time with the PhD students who are examining trade facilitation issues and will be speaking at the seminar series tomorrow.