Martina Björkman Nyqvist, Lucia Corno, Damien de Walque, Jakob Svensson, 07 January 2017

Traditional HIV/AIDS education campaigns have not been completely effective in curtailing new infections. One potential reason behind this is that most of the infections occur among individuals who are willing to take risks when it comes to sexual behaviour, and campaigns have failed to specifically target these people. This column describes a new HIV intervention trialled in Lesotho that used a lottery to target such individuals and incentivise safer practices. HIV incidence was reduced by more than a fifth in treatment groups over the trial period. These results, combined with practical and cost advantages, suggest that such interventions could prove invaluable in the fight against HIV.

Taryn Dinkelman, Martine Mariotti, 20 July 2016

Economic research on migration tends to focus on workers, labour markets, or communities in receiving countries. However, labour migration and earnings could have important impacts on migrants’ home countries. This column explores these effects by focusing on circular migration from Malawi to South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Malawian districts that had the greatest exposure to migration shocks have better educated workers, even three decades later. These findings point to potential ‘brain gain’ effects for sending communities. 

Janine Aron, John Muellbauer, 16 September 2014

Using aggregate data can bias estimates of exchange rate pass-through by ignoring heterogeneity in price adjustment across sectors. This column uses micro-level price data to estimate pass-through for South Africa, using actual CPI weights to reflect changes in consumption bundles. The result is a micro-based estimate of pass-through with aggregation consistent enough to interest monetary policymakers.

Paolo Giordani, Michele Ruta, Hans Weisfeld, Ling Zhu, 23 June 2014

Capital controls may help countries limit large and volatile capital inflows, but they may also have spillover effects on other countries. This column discusses recent research showing that inflow restrictions have significant spillover effects as they deflect capital flows to countries with similar economic characteristics.

Peter van Bergeijk, 27 March 2012

Can international economic pressure induce policy changes? The conventional wisdom, among economists at least, is that economic sanctions, for all their posturing, won’t achieve very much. For better or worse, this column shows that this is now changing.

Daniel Bradlow, 13 August 2010

The global crisis has helped promote the G20 from supporting role to one of the leading forums on the world stage. This column argues that the G20 presents a unique opportunity for its medium-sized members to influence the global economic agenda – but only if they base their short-term actions on a long-term vision.

Peter Draper, Cézanne Samuel, 22 September 2009

What agenda should South Africa take into the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh? This column highlights crisis funding for distressed African economies, IMF reform, global financial governance, and resisting protectionism.

Andreas Freytag, Peter Draper, 28 February 2009

Zimbabwe needs major monetary reform to cure its hyperinflation. Three options are on the table – adopting a currency board, the South African Rand, or a crawling peg. This column argues against a currency board and says that “Randisation” deserves serious consideration – if South Africa will step up to the plate.

Peter Draper, 14 November 2008

This column suggests that South Africa should focus on four broad issues at the coming G20 Summit: supporting global growth, supporting regulatory reform and reconfiguring the IMF, supporting reform of Asian currency management practices, and underlining support for the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.

Andreas Freytag, Peter Draper, 27 September 2008

The South African current account deficit has grown to large proportions in recent years, triggering strong reactions generally driven by a mercantilist bias. But this column says that wise policies will improve the competitiveness of South African firms in the long run, while possibly exacerbating the current account deficit in the short run.