During the April recess Prof Derick Blaauw was part of a multidisciplinary research team doing fieldwork in Cape Town as part of a national study of day labouring in South Africa.
The team consisting of Derick and Professor Rinie Schenck of the Department of Social Work at the University of the Western Cape met the 11 fieldworkers on Monday 3 April 2017 at the UWC Campus for a day of fieldworker training. The fieldworkers were all recruited from graduates of the University of the Western Cape’s Social Work Department. The fieldworkers were carefully selected to accommodate all the languages expected to be encountered on the streets of the Mother City. The training was preceded by two weeks of recognizance by Prof Schenck and Ms Iris Brown to confirm existing and identifying possible new hiring sites. The next step was to execute the operation. Two kombis was used as transport and the team met up at the UWC Campus on Tuesday 4 March. What followed was six days of early mornings (getting up at five o’clock) and long hours on the streets interviewing day labourers trying to make a living from informal employment. The fieldwork went well and 450 interviews were conducted. The fieldworkers were debriefed and valuable time was spent reflecting on the shared experiences of the fieldworkers. This type of research does not leave anybody untouched.
It is right at the end of the academic year and we are making research posts!
Yesterday, Greg Foggitt, a PhD student in Risk Management, presented a paper from his thesis at the ERSA workshop on Financial intermediation in emerging markets. The conference was hosted by the UCT Business School. The title of Greg’s paper was “Identifying the determinants of systemic risk in South African banks”.
Last week Prof Marianne Matthee and Mrs Carli Bezuidenhout (along with Prof Neil Rankin of Stellenbosch University) presented their latest research on South African exporters in Pretoria. Their research forms part of a three-year UNU-WIDER and National Treasury project. The theme of the conference was “Growth and development policy: New data, new approaches, new evidence”. The research used SARS administrative data to examine different topics from the characteristics of exporters and two-way traders, through to productivity, innovation, markups and concentration, the employment tax incentive and determinants of wages.
Marianne and Carli’s work with Neil focused specifically on trade and productivity, as well as exporting and labour demand.
This week Dr Sonja Grater hosted Dr Mikey Chasomeris of UKZN for a guest lecture and research exchange. There has been discussions with colleagues and lunch with the TRADE team. Yesterday Mickey presented some of his research at the ECON625 class.
The topic of the presentation was South African port governance and pricing – the dilemmas and suggested reforms. Mickey showed interesting facts about the eight main ports governed by the Transnet National Ports Authority. Governance dilemmas arise from the approach of cooperation, and not competition, between ports. For example, there is one tariff book for port pricing, though costs differ. Often there is misalignment between Transnet National Port Authority’s plans and priorities and local industrial development zones. Mickey also discussed the interactions between the TNPA and the ports regulator with interesting simulations of the revenue requirement formula and the pricing increases allowed.