Over the past month, staff members of the School have been traveling!
Prof Sonja Grater was invited to take part in two workshops arranged by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), held in Divonne-les-Bains, France, on the 13th and 14th of June 2017. The first day was dedicated to forming a Gender Advisory Group for the ICTSD that could assess the current work that has been done by the ICTSD on trade and gender equality, and also plan several ways forward for further research projects on this topic. The group will revisit the progress that has been made in September 2017. The second day was a broader seminar focussed on the role of private sustainability standards in global value chains and understanding the impact that it has on realising sustainable development and growth. The group that attended this session will also be working together on possible further research into this topic.
After attending the International Trade and Finance Association (IT&FA’s) 27th International Conference at the Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poznan, Poland, Anmar Pretorius and Derick Blaauw traveled to the Jönköping University in Sweden. There they met colleagues from the Economics Department. The type and scope of data available to scholars in Sweden was just mind boggling. The Department has access to a panel of 25 years covering each individual citizen and firm level data. Scholars from the United States and several other countries regularly visit the Department to work with the rich data set.
Anmar and Derick also met up with a former colleague from Monash South Africa, Prof Adele Berndt, who is currently working at the Jönköping International Business School. The aim of the visit was to discuss possible research synergies in the field of renewable energy projects (both in Sweden and in South Africa) and investigate other possible research opportunities for the future. The outcome was several productive brainstorming and work sessions over a five day period. A possible project, working title and timeline for the research has been identified and the corroboration will be taken further in due course.
During the first week of June Anmar Pretorius and Derick Blaauw attended the International Trade and Finance Association (IT&FA’s) 27th International Conference at the Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poznan, Poland. The topic of the conference was: “Leading Issues in International Trade and Finance”. Delegates from afar as New Zealand, China, India and the United States converged in the beautiful city of Poznan. Both colleagues delivered papers at the conference. Anmar and Derick delivered a joint paper entitled: The Impact of Trade on Stock Market Integration of Emerging Markets. Anmar presented a paper entitled: Exports and Exchange Rate Risk: Analyzing Emerging Market Sectoral Exports – co-authored by Heinrich Nel.
The “Keynote speech” was delivered by Professor Leszek Balcerowicz of the Warsaw School of Economics with the theme “Systematic forces, shocks and economic growth”. Prof Balcerowicz was instrumental in Poland’s economic transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. Prof Balcerowicz is a former chairman of the National Bank of Poland and also served as Deputy Prime Minister in Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s government. During the lecture Prof Balcerowicz highlighted the importance of fast and sustainable economic growth without neglecting important social issues as a prerequisite for sustainable development.
This was followed by a Plenary Roundtable, chaired by Joseph Pelzman (George Washington University) with the topic of: “Global Economy in 2017 – Business, Institutional and Academic Perspective”. The rest of the conference consisted of 14 parallel sessions and ended with a guided walking tour of the city centre.
The Society’s President, Prof André Fourçans (ESSEC Business School, Paris) delivered an address at the Gala Dinner on the Economics of Climate Change. Issues dealt with included how economists analyse the phenomenon and its impact.
New contacts were made and the possibility of future engagement was discussed with some of the colleagues of the Poznan University of Economics and Business. Further information on the conference can be found at: http://www.itfaconference.org/
Dr. ShiNa Li from the University of Surrey in UK visited the School of Economics during the week of 29 May to 2 June. She is a co-worker on a project on Tourism and Poverty reduction, which is funded by the British Academy, together with Prof Andrea Saayman, Dr.Alicia Fourie, and Dr. Marco Scholtz. This is a 1-year project, which aims to investigate the influence that various aspects of tourism have on poverty.
During her visit, she presented some research results on the distributional effects of mega events. The case study presented investigates the effect of the Olympic Games, held in Beijing in 2008, on income distribution and opportunities to both urban and rural households in China. The exceptional circumstances in China, where the household registration system (hukou) distinguishes between a rural and urban person, hampers labour mobility. A person with a rural registration has access to poorer educational services and may not migrate to urban areas to search for work there. This has led to an increase in income disparity between urban and rural households in China.