Research Brief
by Alfred Moyo

Analysis of World Bank data ranging from 1990–2017 indicates that increases in global oil prices would have negative effects on the economic growth of Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and especially Mauritius. Given the high reliance of Southern African countries on crude oil imports, barrel price increases in the global market can significantly...

20 May 2020
regional_growth
Working paper
Impact of Covid-19 on the South African economy - An initial analysis
Channing Arndt, Rob Davies, Sherwin Gabriel, Laurence Harris, Konstantin Makrelov, Boipuso Modise, Sherman Robinson, Witness Simbanegavi, Dirk van Seventer, and Lillian Anderson

This paper reports ‘first pass’ estimates of the costs of the lock-down implemented by the South African government beginning on 27 March 2020. It also presents a series of recovery scenarios. Four channels by which a lockdown and other efforts are expected to influence economic activity are distinguished. In total, these lockdown measures have...

30 April 2020
macroeconomics
climate
Working paper
Deciphering the biodiversity-production mutualism in the global food security debate
Ralf Seppelt, Channing Arndt, Michael Beckmann, Emily A. Martin, and Tom Hertel

Without large changes in consumption as well as sharp reductions of food waste and post-harvest losses, agricultural production must grow to meet future food demands. The variety of concepts and policies relating to yield increases fail to integrate an important constituent of production and human nutrition – namely biodiversity. We here...

30 April 2020
climate
Working paper
The impact of the Employment Equity Act on female inter-industry labour mobility and the gender wage gap in South Africa
Mattie Susan Landman and Neave O’Clery

The Employment Equity Act No. 55 of 1998 was introduced by the South African government to address the legacy of apartheid and ensure equitable representation of black people and women in the South African labour market. Although the impacts of the Act are highly controversial, its widespread adoption among firms opens up questions on its...

29 April 2020
inequality
Working paper
Marlies Piek, Dieter von Fintel, and Johann Kirsten

This paper presents new evidence on the employment effects of a large increase in agricultural minimum wages in South Africa using anonymized tax data. We add to the minimum wage literature by differentiating employment effects resulting from the destruction of existing jobs and from the slower creation of new jobs. Using data from tax years...

29 April 2020
inequality
Working paper
Depreciation allowances in South Africa
Estian Calitz, Eva Muwanga-Zake, Alexius Sithole, and Wynnona Steyn

Nowadays, tax depreciation allowances are used less as instruments of macroeconomic stabilization and more as long-term measures to stimulate investment. This paper tabulates the types of accelerated depreciation allowances in South Africa and calculates the magnitude of these benefits in addition to standard across-the-board accounting...

29 April 2020
public_revenue
Working paper
Estimating the distribution of household wealth in South Africa
Aroop Chatterjee, Léo Czajka, and Amory Gethin

This paper estimates the distribution of personal wealth in South Africa by combining tax microdata, household surveys, and macroeconomic balance sheet statistics. We systematically compare estimates of the wealth distribution obtained by direct measurement of net worth, rescaling of reported wealth to balance sheet totals, and capitalization...

29 April 2020
inequality
Blog
Meet the women behind the Southern Africa – Towards Inclusive Economic Development programme
by Anne Tomi

Globally, women are under-represented in the field of economics. Only a third of all academic research staff in the field of economics in Europe are women. In the US the share is even lower.

12 March 2020
News
Effect of COVID-19 on SA-TIED: some disruptions but work continues
by SA-TIED

The Southern Africa – Towards Inclusive Economic Development (SA-TIED) programme will continue delivering on our mandates during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Some areas of programme operations however will be subject to temporary disruption during the pandemic – updates will be provided on our website and social media....

25 March 2020
Working paper
Product market competition and the labour market - Evidence from South Africa
Francesco Amodio, Michele Di Maio, Yifan Li, and Patrizio Piraino

We study the relationship between product market competition and labour market outcomes in South Africa. We combine firm-level data from tax records with individual-level data from the labour force survey. We estimate markups across sectors, and derive a measure of employment concentration in high-markup sectors across South African district...

30 March 2020
inequality
Working paper
Making agricultural value chains more inclusive through technology and innovation
Reena das Nair and Namhla Landani

Some entry barriers in agricultural and agro-processing value chains, particularly for smallholder farmers and small/medium-sized processors, can be overcome with innovation and technology adoption. Technologies and innovation in these sectors have been both radical and incremental, ranging widely through biotechnology; production technologies...

30 March 2020
regional_growth
Working paper
Agro-processing, value chains, and regional integration in Southern Africa
Anthony Black, Lawrence Edwards, Ruth Gorven, and Willard Mapulanga

Regional integration in Africa is underway but ongoing progress requires that the gains are widely spread. South Africa’s huge regional trade surplus in manufactured goods is already leading to protectionist pressures in neighbouring countries. Agro-processing is a large sector, which is widely regarded as having significant potential, but the...

30 March 2020
regional_growth
Working paper
Modelling the costs of constraining the transition to renewable energy in South Africa
Bruno Merven, Faaiqa Hartley, Sherman Robinson and Channing Arndt

For decades cheaper and easily available fossil fuels have underpinned the energy system of South Africa and inhibited the potential for achieving a sustainable low carbon economy. Favourable developments in renewable energy technologies and falling prices provide an opportunity for the country to reduce its emissions significantly without...

25 March 2020
climate
Working paper
The changing nature of hydroclimatic risks across Southern Africa
C. Adam Schlosser, Andrei Sokolov, Ken Strzepek, Tim Thomas, Xiang Gao, and Channing Arndt

This study presents results from a large ensemble of projected changes in seasonal precipitation and near-surface air temperature changes for the nation of South Africa. The ensemble is based on a combination of pattern-change responses derived from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP-5) climate models along with the...

25 March 2020
climate
Working paper
Measuring labour earnings inequality in post-apartheid South Africa
Serena Merrino

This paper investigates the validity of household survey data published by Statistics South Africa since 1993 and later integrated into the Post-Apartheid Labour Market Series (PALMS). A series of statistical adjustments are proposed, compared, and applied to primary data with the purpose of generating time-comparable, unbiased estimates, and...

23 March 2020
macroeconomics
Working paper
Long term modelling of household demand and its implications for energy planning
Bruno Merven, Faaiqa Hartley and Jules Schers

This paper proposes an alternative method for modelling long term changes in household consumption in computable general equilibrium models. The analysis is applied to the case of South Africa and focuses on the change in income related lifestyle choices on energy demand and composition. A comparison of adjusting household consumption share (...

20 March 2020
climate
Working paper
Global land reform experiences: A review for South Africa
Rob Davies, Katrina Kosec, Ephraim Nkonya, and Jie Song

This paper reviews land reform in six emerging market economies with some similarities to South Africa, and in sub-Saharan African countries, which share a similar colonial history. While care needs to be taken when trying to transplant policies that have worked in other countries, the paper suggests a number of broad lessons. Land reform is a...

20 March 2020
climate
Working paper
Climate change and developing country growth: the cases of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia
Channing Arndt, Paul Chinowsky, Charles Fant, Sergey Paltsev, C. Adam Schlosser, Kenneth Strzepek, Finn Tarp, and James Thurlow

We consider the interplay of climate change impacts, global mitigation policies, and the economic interests of developing countries to 2050. Focusing on Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, we employ a structural approach to biophysical and economic modeling that incorporates climate uncertainty and allows for rigorous comparison of climate,...

19 March 2020
climate
Working paper
South African agricultural productivity in the global context: Comparisons using FAO data
Channing Arndt and Alejandro Nin Pratt

This paper seeks to address the following questions: (a) How productive is South Africa’s agricultural sector? (b) How does it compare to other countries in terms of productivity? The approach taken uses neoclassical growth accounting in defining total factor productivity (TFP) growth as the ratio of output and input growth. There are three...

20 March 2020
climate
Working paper
Shifting from deductions to credits - Unpacking the distributional effects of medical expenditure considerations in South Africa
Senia Nhamo and Edinah Mudimu

The recent National Health Insurance White Paper proposes redirection of medical tax credits revenue towards the financing of the national health insurance. This raises critical questions about the impact on affordability for the poor as well as fundamental legal implications. The 2012 tax reforms which saw the move from deductions to credits...

18 March 2020
public_revenue
Working paper
The elasticity of taxable income - New data and estimates for South Africa
Johannes Hermanus Kemp

The elasticity of taxable income is a key tax policy parameter that plays an important role in the formulation of tax and transfer policy. This paper extends work by Kemp (2019) by using a new panel of individual tax returns and the phenomenon of ‘bracket creep’ to produce updated estimates of the elasticity of taxable income for South Africa....

18 March 2020
public_revenue
Working paper
Job spells in an emerging market - Evidence from apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa
Robert Hill, Kezia Lilenstein, and Amy Thornton

Few studies exist on job duration in developing labour markets—an important omission both in our understanding of such markets and for the job duration literature, which is mainly based on developed-country case studies, which differ in structural ways. The main reason for this is likely data constraints in developing countries, since job...

18 March 2020
inequality
Working paper
Initial considerations for the creation of an inter-regional industrial hemp value chain between Malawi and South Africa
Sandy Lowitt

Interest in industrial hemp has revived in the past 20 years. Malawi is considering legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp as an alternative cash crop to tobacco with great potential. This study considers the potential and challenges of creating an industrial hemp value chain between South Africa and Malawi, with Malawi concentrating on...

18 March 2020
regional_growth
Working paper
Labour market polarization in South Africa - A decomposition analysis
Rob Davies and Dirk van Seventer

There is evidence from developed countries that technical change affects not only the employment intensity of production, but also the occupational composition of employment. The use of artificial intelligence, automation, and robots has changed the skills composition of employment. A range of ‘routine’ tasks are being replaced by machines...

18 March 2020
macroeconomics
Research seminar

The importance of cheap, high-quality telecommunications services for economic development and growth are frequently stressed by policy makers, as is the need for greater regional integration and cooperation in Southern Africa.

11 March 2020
regional_growth
Research seminar

SA-TIED will hold a seminar on worker mobility and productivity spillovers - an emerging market perspective. The seminar will be given by Friedrich Kreuser under the work stream on Enterprise development for job creation and growth.

05 March 2020
enterprise_development
Technical workshop

SA-TIED will hold a 3-day training workshop on the use of Stata for staff from the National Treasury.

The workshop will take place at the National Treasury and will be carried out by the work stream on Turning the tide on inequality

 

05 March 2020
inequality
Request for research proposals
Request for research proposals - Migration and South Africa
by SA-TIED

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), together with its partners, now invites research proposals related to migration for the Southern Africa Towards Inclusive Economic Development (SA-TIED) programme. Deadline for submissions is 06 April, 2020 23:59 UTC+3.

19 February 2020
climate
Blog
How a data revolution in South Africa can help address gender inequality
Amina Ebrahim and Kezia Lilenstein

In 2016, we joined a project in South Africa working to make tax data available for research purposes. Tax authorities collect an enormous amount of data on companies and individuals, data that is useful for economics research and economic policy-making, and the potential to learn from such a large collection of data on the economy is huge.

21 February 2020
Research Brief
The impact on jobs and earnings of offshoring in South Africa
by SA-TIED

The success of an economy’s manufacturing sector is often critical to economic growth and development. As a major contributor to exports, site of innovation, adopter of international best practices, and engine of job creation, an internationally competitive manufacturing sector often drives output and employment growth.

18 February 2020
enterprise_development
Research Brief
Can trade in services bolster regional development in Southern Africa?
by SA-TIED

Service exports are the fastest growing portion of world trade and now account for nearly a quarter of global exports. Tradable services contribute to economic growth and development by bolstering industrial capabilities, facilitating productivity growth and investment, and contributing directly to exports. This presents opportunities for many...

10 February 2020
regional_growth
Research Brief
Spatial dynamics of firm productivity in South Africa
by SA-TIED

The design and implementation of industrial policy should be closely linked to spatial considerations. Firm output and productivity are often location-specific, with factors such as the availability of physical infrastructure, proximity to sources for raw materials, and the potential for adopting research-based technology from similar firms...

07 February 2020
enterprise_development