South Africa is currently undertaking investments in electricity generation infrastructure on an unprecedented scale. The total discounted cost of the investment scenarios outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan 2010-30 range from R700 billion to R1.2trillion. Investments on this scale must be guided by a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis procedure. Since existing markets for electricity provide no information regarding consumer preferences across generation technologies, the inclusion of several benefits relevant to the choice between rival technologies requires the use of non-market valuation techniques. Towards this end, a contingent valuation study was conducted in April-May 2012, seeking to estimate the aggregate willingness to pay for green electricity products amongst upper-middle income Western Cape households, as well as to examine the characteristics of likely adopters. The survey found nearly 80% of respondent households to have some positive WTP for green electricity, as indicated by their agreement to sign up for a premium-priced green electricity product. However, many respondents indicated low confidence in these commitments. Econometric analysis of the hypothetical market responses produced an upper-bound mean WTP estimate of R227 per upper-middle income household per month, whilst a more conservative lower-bound model produced a mean monthly WTP of R68 per UMI household. These correspond to aggregate WTP values of R105 million and R31.2 million per month respectively. Characteristics found to be statistically significant positive predictors of WTP for green electricity are: household income; awareness of, and concern related to anthropogenic climate change; positive perceptions of renewable energy technologies as sources of electricity; and solar geyser ownership. Factors found to be statistically significant negative predictors of green electricity are; respondent age; respondent education; and, positive perceptions of nuclear energy.
Recent and upcoming events
This seminar will be presented by Professor Staffan I. Lindberg, Principal Investigator, V-Dem, Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Gothenburg & University of Florida, Research Fellow, Quality of Government Institute, Snr Adviser, International Law and Policy Institute.
The study of democracy and democratization lies at the center of political science and is increasingly important in economics, sociology, and history. In the post-Cold War world, democracy has also become a central foreign policy objective. Yet, there is little conclusive evidence about why some countries become and remain democratic and others do not. The Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Research Program sets out to provide the first comprehensive theory of democratization, that also accounts for the multiple core principles and values in the varieties of democracy in the world today.: electoral, liberal, majoritarian, consensual, participatory, deliberative, and egalitarian democracy. V-Dem also breaks down each core principle index into its constituent components, about 50 of them measured separately. Each component is comprised of several carefully chosen indicators, a total of 329 , measuring the quality of democracy across core institutions of democracies including elections, civil liberties, the judiciary, the executive, the legislature, political parties, gender, media, and civil society. The V-Dem Database will contain data on these for all countries of the world, annually from 1900 to the present including pre-independence eras. Being the first to use this unique database and by bringing together a research team consisting of leading democratization-scholars in the world, each with their unique set of expertise and area-competence, we aim to provide cutting-edge, systematic and theoretically revolutionizing examination of democratization. This research program is a collaboration between leading scholars from the Universities of Gothenburg, Lund, Stockholm, Notre Dame, Boston, Aarhus, Florida, Emory, Harvard, Berkeley, Michigan, Oslo, Case Western, Colorado, and the Catholic University of Chile, as well as scholars from 24 regional universities across the world.
I investigate labour earnings in the top tail (± top 12%) of the South African income distribution from 1995 to 2007, using a new harmonised data set constructed from the OHSs and LFSs (Kerr et al 2011). Nonparametric techniques suggest that the distribution is well approximated by a Pareto distribution. Surprisingly, this distribution seems to have been remarkably stable over the entire period. Parametric estimates suggest that the tail parameter is around 1.8, which suggests that the distribution is “fat tailed”. This implies that extreme outcomes are more common than with the standard “normal” distribution. I discuss some of the implications of such fat tails for the way we think about inequality.
The first in a new series of CSSR quantitative methods workshops focuses on panel data analysis and uses the Cape Area Panel Study to illustrate a few basic techniques.
Minimum wages in the South African clothing industry are set by mostly metro-based capital-intensive employers and organised labour in the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry (NBC). These wages are routinely extended by the Minister of Labour to cover all firms. Firms that do not comply with the agreement are pursued through the courts and eventually shut down by the NBC. We have argued elsewhere that this has been harmful for labour-intensive growth. In this seminar, we summarise the argument briefly and then discuss recent wage-setting agreements that seek to reduce wage pressure on firms and job losses in non-compliant firms in South Africa.
Sociological treatments of the reproduction of social inequality in South Africa often focus on historical, political and economical aspects while references popular culture are commonly used to describe differences rather than to explain them. As a result much of South African cultural sociology, especially with regards to youth culture, is entailed in in-depth ethnographic descriptions of particular subcultures. In contrast this seminar is about the role of taste and cultural preferences in the reconfiguration of common perceptions of “otherness” and their function in the reproduction of social inequality. By presenting findings from a survey and in-depth focus groups with schoolchildren in Cape Town it explores the divisive potential of contemporary youth culture, especially where class and race connotations meet. Bourdieu’s work on cultural capital and habitus is applied in the context of South African youth culture in order to discern the links between structural inequality and taste. Particular attention is paid to the effects of uneven access to different forms of media.
Some opinion surveys have found that South African respondents are highly skeptical of foreigners and immigrants, relative to respondents from other countries. This, combined with high profile attacks on immigrants in recent years, calls for an investigation of the sources of hostility toward outsiders. This presentation examines predictors of attitudes toward immigration among the “born free” generation, testing several hypotheses that scholars have used to explain xenophobia in South Africa and elsewhere. The analysis uses new, preliminary data from the 2012 Cape Area Study, a survey recently conducted by CSSR's Democracy in Africa Research Unit that asked Cape-Town area high school learners and their teachers and parents about their opinions on civics and other public issues. The hypothesis that skepticism of immigration is driven by economic anxiety receives some support, while the hypothesis that hostility toward immigration is a byproduct of South Africa’s nation-building efforts is not supported. Measures of educational effectiveness are also not associated with levels of support for immigration.
In the late 1970s, North Western Tanzania and Southern Uganda probably constituted the epicentre of the African HIV epidemic. By the time Museveni’s National Resistance Army took Kampala in 1986, AIDS constituted a real crisis. But the new government's willingness to confront the disease (which contrasted with the denial exhibited by most African governments), its frank prevention campaigns and its emphasis on "partnership" with civil society contributed to a stellar international reputation and significant investments by donors. But its reputation probably gained most from the declines in HIV prevalence observed in Uganda from the early 1990s. This paper interrogates whether the Museveni government's reputation for excellent leadership on AIDS is deserved. It does so by examining the role of underlying epidemiological trends in explaining the HIV prevalence declines (by implementing a standard epidemiological model) and the evolving role of non-state actors in the Ugandan AIDS response. Particular attention is paid to institutional arrangements and a political culture that discourages vocal civil society and to donor dependence and donor dominance of the policy agenda.
The high prevalence of clinical co-morbidity in PLWHA has focussed appropriate attention on TB and opportunistic infections. Less well researched is the prevalence of psychiatric disorders such as alcohol and drug abuse and the impact of these on the clinical status of PLWHA. Using a sample of 1503 patients attending HIV clinics in the Western Cape, this research investigated the prevalence of harmful and hazardous use of alcohol and drugs and the multivariate relationship between this and demographic and clinical factors. The research further employed structural equations modelling to investigate and clarify the role and impact of harmful and hazardous alcohol use on disease progression in PLWHA. The results provide strong evidence for the centrality of alcohol abuse in compromising the general clinical status and health outcomes of PLWHA. The research suggests various policy and programmatic implications from the perspective of both HIV and substance abuse diagnosis and treatment.
Recent scholarly work has demonstrated that urban tenure forms exists on a continuum from informal to freehold rather than as a dualistic relationship of dejure versus defacto tenure as held for a long time. Knowledge about the effects of dejure versus defacto tenure has accumulated but we know little about the effects of these intermediate forms, on economic and particularly on social dimensions of poverty. Using a capital asset framework, this paper investigates the effects of leasehold tenure as opposed to occupancy tenure on economic capital as indicated by household income, number of assets, credit access and income generating activities, and social capital as indicated by social networks, financial value of networks, and social cohesion. The study draws evidence from a pseudo-natural experiment in Lusaka, Zambia. In this experiment, residents of Matero and George have lived as neighbours renting from the Lusaka City Council and living in similar conditions for over forty years. In 1996, Matero residents benefitted from the privatization of public housing receiving 99-year leasehold tenure while those in George continued to rent from the council under 30-year occupancy tenure. A survey (n=623) and qualitative interviews (n=35) were conducted in 2011. The study finds that leasehold tenure was associated with higher household income and number of assets but no effect on income generating activities and credit access. Leasehold tenure was positively associated with number of networks but had no effect on the financial values of those networks and on social cohesion. Calls about formalization of intermediate forms of urban tenure are discouraged as they may consolidate into stratified social formations overtime.