The goal of this project is to develop an understanding of the drivers of spatial distribution of fishing pressure around the coast, so as to inform strategies for the recovery and sustainable management of threatened fishery resources.
This project will measure the risk and time attitudes of Western Cape fruit farmers using experimental and econometric techniques. It will assess how these attitudes interact with the adoption of new cultivars, wealth levels and access to capital, and a variety of other socio-economic variables. The results will be used to construct policy advice for a priority area of South African industrial policy.
Understanding the determinants of adaptive behaviour and developing Disaster Risk Insurance for the Informal Sector
Many of Cape Town’s informal settlements are found in the low-lying flood-prone Cape Flats. These informal settlements are flooded annually during the wet, rainy season – resulting in damage to dwellings and property and causing a myriad of health problems as residents are forced to live in wet damp conditions, surrounded by pools of stagnant water.
This project aims to use low-cost and scalable behavioral-economic interventions to facilitate pro-environmental behavioural change. Specifically, the objective is to induce a reduction in electricity consumption of Provincial government employees.
The research programme explores the overall theme of Gender Dimensions of Natural Resource Use, Farming and Food Adequacy: Climate Change Risk, Vulnerability and Adaptation. The broad aim of this research programme is to study how the well-being (in terms of food adequacy) of male and female headed households is influenced by reliance on farming and natural resources. The research will also investigate how climate uncertainty affects male and female headed households’ decisions regarding farming versus natural resources (living from ecosystem services) use. Lastly, the research we propose to do will also focus on vulnerability, adaptation and constraints to adaptation due to climate variability.
This project aims to use low-cost and scalable behavioral-economic interventions to facilitate pro-environmental behavioural change in the Western Cape of South Africa. Specifically, the objective is to induce a reduction in electricity and water consumption across a large sample of residential homes.
The purpose of this study is to estimate the optimal entrance fees that should be charged during peak and off peak periods and derive welfare outcomes of selected policy changes in selected clusters of national parks in South Africa.
The project addresses the impact of climate change on the value of wildlife and welfare of ranchers. We use a panel Ricardian model to address specification challenges of single year cross sectional survey and unstable results due to repeated cross sectional surveys.
Marine Protected Areas and Small-Scale Fishing Behavior: a Comparative Analysis between South Africa, Tanzania and Costa Rica
This thematic program examines marine resource conservation. This multi-center collaborative project, the first within this thematic program, focuses on improving policy to promote coastal conservation through marine protected areas (MPAs) and related management tools. Because signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity have committed to establishing MPAs on 10 percent of their coastal waters, a widespread expansion of these areas is underway worldwide.
Despite the centrality of African parks and other protected areas to nature-based tourism, they capture only a fraction of its value. For this reason, national parks and other protected areas have mostly relied on fiscal transfers from the state to fund their conservation activities.
The demand for recreational angling in South Africa: implications of alternative management options for a depleted fishery
Recreational angling is a popular past time in South Africa and has been shown to make a substantial contribution to the economy. However, recreational fishing pressure has led to the severe decline and collapse of many of the species targeted in the fishery. Recent studies suggest that both the numbers many of the fish species targeted have vulnerable life history strategies, with
The role of institutions in wildlife conservation in South Africa and Zimbabwe: a social-ecological systems approach
Community-based wildlife conservation has become popular with both policymakers and development practitioners alike as a vehicle for rural development in Southern Africa. A significant proportion of wildlife in the region is a common pool resource (CPR) and is managed under community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) arrangements.
Ecosystems provide a range of essential services which underpin human well-being (e.g.
Evaluation of Dry-lands Ecosystem Services in the area surrounding the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa
This project is concerned with identifying, assessing and valuing ecosystem services found on the section of land belonging to the Khomani San contractual park and their farms.
This project explores whether the adoption of new farming practices is decreasing in ambiguity aversion, while conversely, the uptake of insurance is increasing in ambiguity aversion. Such a result will strengthen the argument in favour of mechanisms of risk diffusion, such as insurance products for small-scale farmers.
Estimating Optimal Conservation Fees in the Presence of Land Restitution in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park between Botswana and South Africa
This project thrives to determine how the Kgalagadi Transfrontier park can serve as a drive in tourism that generates economic and social benefits to land claimants and as a result maximize the positive spill over effects on the Khomani San people.
The objectives of this study are to provide a spatial analysis of the total economic value of the SA coast, focusing on the values generated by different types of protected areas versus other stretches of coast.
An applied economics survey among South African subsistence farmers
A tool to shape public policies?
In this research project EfD aims to draw lessons from land reforms in several Asian and African countries. The findings will be presented in a book edited by Professors Stein Holden and Keijiro Otsuka and titled "Land Reforms in Asia and Africa - Impacts on Poverty and Natural Resource Management".
Wetlands are considered to perform a number of ecosystem services, including the improvement of water quality. However, few empirical studies have been carried out on the capacity of wetlands to perform a water treatment function, or on the demand for this function, with the result that most estimates of the value of this service are based on a weak foundation. Furthermore, the measurement of this function is confounded by the complications in trying to assess water quality entering and leaving wetlands because of surface to groundwater interactions.
Scepticism with respect to the consequences of climate change is declining worldwide as this issue takes a prominent place on global political agenda. However, the overall extent and magnitude of climate change consequences are still extremely uncertain. As such, any economic analysis of climate change must take cognisance of the economics of risk and uncertainty.
The optimal pricing of national parks with nationality-based price discrimination and park substitution
Nature based tourism is a popular and rapidly growing industry in South Africa. Developing nations are finding it useful to use their natural resources in order to create competitive advantage over the developed world.
Climate change in an experimental setting: The effect of stochastic future disasters and country vulnerability on cooperation.
In this project we are investigate the trade off between countries’ investments in adaptation and mitigation. We study how the investment behaviour in these two types of investments differs between types of countries (where countries differ in terms of vulnerability).
Abalone poaching, methamphetamine use, criminal activity in South Africa and the associated implications for resource management
This study seeks to explore the relationship between abalone poaching, use of methamphetamine and crime activity in the coastal communities of South Africa; and the associated implications for the management of the resource.
Using what amounts to a field experiment we analyse whether the electricity consumption patterns of consumers are altered by the experience of blackouts and the exposure to Eskom’s communication. Secondly; we analyse bargaining experiments focussed on disputes concerning conservation-land owned by the South African National Defence Force and the conservation agencies.
Implementing environmentally responsible investment strategies (ERI)in the South African investment and financial sector
The research project led by Dr Stephanie Giamporcaro focuses on Environmental Finance and Environmental Investment. The research program aims thus to explore how environmentally responsible investment approaches are implemented currently in South Africa and how the implementation of these strategies in the country’s financial and investment sector can be facilitated in order to promote a sustainable growth in South Africa and a sustainable use of natural resources .
Read about what EfD centers around the world have been up to during the last year in terms of research highlights and how our research relate to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The power of nudging: Using feedback, competition and responsibility assignment to save electricity in a non-residential setting
We use behavioural insights to design nudges, leveraging social comparison and assignment of responsibility, aimed at reducing electricity consumption in a large provincial government office building with 24 floors, a total of 1008 occupants. Results from a randomized control trial show that floors participating in a treatment with inter-floor competitions and tips reduced energy consumption by 9%, while those that also included floor-wise “energy advocates” reduced energy consumption by 14% over a period of 5 months.
Watershed management is a complex activity with constraints on funding and human resources in many parts of the world, and there is a need for global effort to identify strategies that can work. To complement regulatory approaches, attention is now also being given to market-based incentives because of their potential cost-effectiveness. This study seeks to provide impetus to the use of the most successful market-based incentives to promote sustainable watershed practices through strengthening and increasing direct participation
South African researchers integral to UN ‘natural capital accounting’ pilot by Leonie Joubert Natural environments in and around the South African coastal city of Durban provide goods and services to the national economy that amount to an estimated US$ 350 million (R 4.2 billion) each year. This ‘conservative estimate’ includes the value of resources that people collect from their natural surroundings, such as wild-harvested foods, firewood and timber, or water taken from rivers for home use.
This article examines the effect of commercial bank performance on an indicator of energy efficiency (i.e. energy intensity) while controlling for the mediating effect of political institution. To achieve this goal, the study develops a theoretical model based on the neoclassical theory of the firm that links energy efficiency to bank sector development, and a unique bank-based data by Andrianova et al. (2015) for 43 Sub-Saharan African countries from 1998 to 2012.
The use of small-scale off-grid renewable energy for rural electrification is now seen as part of the sustainable energy solutions. The expectation from such small-scale investment is that it can meet the basic energy needs of a household and subsequently improve someaspects of household welfare. However, these stated benefits remain largely hypothetical because there are data and methodological challenges in existing literature attempting to isolate such impact.
Life Cycle Cost and Return on Investment as complementary decision variables for urban flood risk management in developing countries
Herein we investigate Life Cycle Cost (LCC) and Return on Investment (ROI) as potential decision variables for evaluating the economic performance (ROI) and financial feasibility (LCC) of a set of flood mitigation strategies over time. The main novelty of this work is the application of LCC and ROI analyses at the urban level to an asset portfolio of flood-prone buildings. Reduced flood damage is treated probabilistically as avoided costs (LCC analysis) and returns (ROI analysis), respectively.
Risk Preferences and the Poverty Trap: A Look at Farm Technology Uptake amongst Smallholder Farmers in the Matzikama Municipality
This study looks at the determinants of farm technology uptake, with attention to farmers’ risk preference and income. We use a field experiment to elicit measures of risk aversion, loss aversion, and non-linear weights of probability. We then relate these measures to the uptake of drought-resistant and improved seeds. In light of the poverty trap theory, we also consider the role that income plays in risk preference. Our findings suggest that farm risk management policies need to take into account the role of risk and loss preferences in uptake decisions.
We used locally-sourced and other relevant information to value ecosystem services provided by South Africa's terrestrial, freshwater and estuarine habitats. Our preliminary estimates suggest that these are worth at least R275 billion per annum to South Africans. Notwithstanding benefits to the rest of the world, natural systems provide a major source of direct income to poor households, and generate significant value in the economy through tourism and property markets, as well as providing considerable non-market benefits. Higher values
Determinants of Successful Collective Management of Forest Resources: Evidence from Kenyan Community Forest Associations
Participation of local communities in management and utilization of forest resources through collective action has become widely accepted as a possible solution to failure of centralized, top-down approaches to forest conservation. Developing countries have thus resorted to devolution of forest management through initiatives such as Participatory Forest Management (PFM) and Joint Forest Management (JFM). In Kenya, under such initiatives, communities have been able to self-organize into community forest associations (CFAs).
Africa is endowed with an incredible amount of natural resources of which the extractive sector is a key component. Unfortunately, however, the continent is characterized by a paradox of plenty or resource curse, depicting a situation of abundant resources that have not translated into economic growth and prosperity for the population. The potential role of the extractive sector is further affected by global volatilities. This article reviews the importance of the extractive sector to selected African countries. It identifies sources of
This paper uses a bio-economic model to analyze wildlife conservation in two habitats adjacent to a national park by two types of communities in Zimbabwe. One community is made up of peasant farmers operating under a benefit-sharing scheme such as CAMPFIRE, while the other is made up of commercial farmers practicing game farming in a conservancy. Both communities exploit wildlife by selling hunting licenses to foreign hunters but with different levels of success. The park agency plays a central role by authorizing the harvest quota for each community.
Response to climate risks among smallholder farmers in Malawi: A multivariate probit assessment of the role of information, household demographics, and farm characteristics
Why do many smallholder farmers fail to adopt what appear to be relatively simple agronomic or management practices which can help them cope with climate-induced stressors? Using household and plot level data collected in 2011, we implement a multivariate probit model to assess the determinants of farmer adaptation behavior to climatic risks and the relative contribution of information, credit and education on the probability of adopting specific practices in response to adverse changes in weather patterns.
Predation of livestock in South Africa has been estimated to cost in excess of ZAR1 billion in losses per year and has complex social, economic and ecological drivers and consequences. In this context, livestock can be broadly defined as domesticated animals and wildlife (the former excluding poultry and the latter including ostrich, Struthio camelus) managed for commercial purposes or human benefit in free-ranging (or semi-free ranging) circumstances that render them vulnerable to predation. This conflict between livestock
Ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) is increasingly being promoted as a cost-effective means of adaptation to climate change. However, in spite of considerable international press, there is still little evidence to substantiate this claim. This study proposes a method through which the cost-effectiveness of EbA strategies can be evaluated against alternative adaptation options, and contributes to South African literature on the subject. The potential cost-effectiveness of wetland restoration is assessed as a means of
Local communities’ valuation of environmental amenities around the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Southern Africa
This paper seeks to examine how communities value a variety of dryland environmental amenities provided by the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park where there is an interest in limiting their access, both in order to protect the environment and in order to make it more attractive for tourists. This is done using a choice experiment, which targeted households in the Kgalagadi area.
Sharing conservation revenue with communities surrounding parks could demonstrate the link between ecotourism and local communities’ economic development, promote a positive view of land restitution involving parks, help address skewed distribution of income in the vicinity of parks and act as an incentive for local communities to participate in conservation even more. This article estimates the visitation demand function for Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) in order to
Assessing Gender Inequality in Food Security amongst Small-holder Farm Households in urban and rural South Africa
With the ongoing changes in climate, household food insecurity is likely to be more widespread in most small-holder and subsistence farm households in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the existence and extent of gendered household food security—or lack thereof—remains unclear.
Read about EfD research applied around the developing world during 2017. Take a look at each EfD Center's Stories!
A linear public good experiment adopted from Holt and Laury [1997. Classroom games: Voluntary provision of a public good. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(4), 209–215.] has been employed to investigate strategic behaviour in pollution abatement among African climate decision-makers. The experiment consisted of three groups, of which groups 2 and 3 received one and two treatments, respectively.
‘Ground-Truthing’ Chinese Development Finance in Africa: Field Evidence from South Africa and Uganda
A new methodology, Tracking Underreported Financial Flows (TUFF), leverages open-source information on development finance by non-transparent, non-Western donors. If such open-source methods prove to be valid and reliable, they can enhance our understanding of the causes and consequences of development finance from non-transparent donors including, but not limited to, China. But open-source methods face charges of inaccuracy. In this study we create and field-test a replicable ‘ground-truthing’ methodology to
Small-holder Farming, Food Security and Climate Change in South Africa: Male-Female and Urban-Rural Differences
With ongoing climate change, food insecurity is likely to become more widespread in most small-holder and subsistence farm households in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the existence and extent of gendered food (in)security remains unclear. This study extends existing knowledge by assessing gender inequality in food (in)security amongst small-holder farm households in urban and rural areas of South Africa. To do so, we use the gender of the head of household in a treatment effects framework.
African wildlife conservation has been transformed, shifting from a traditional, state-managed government approach to a broader governance approach with a wide range of actors designing and implementing wildlife policy. The most widely popularized approach has been that of community managed nature conservancies. The knowledge of how institutions function in relation to humans and their use of the environment is critical to the design and implementation of effective conservation.