Stellenbosch students win ESSA Founder's Medals

Posted by Melt van Schoor on 2012-09-28

Stellenbosch has done exceptionally well by winning two of the four Founder's Medals of the Economic Society of South Africa this year. The prizes are awarded annually for the best long essay/thesis in Honours, Masters (full and partial) and Doctoral degrees at South African universities.

Jonathan Reader, who studied for an Honours degree at Stellenbosch last year, was awarded the prize for the best Honours (long) essay for his work "Institutional consequences of foreign aid" under supervisor Dr Sophia du Plessis. In this work, Jonathan considered the unintended consequences of aid on the recipient country from an institutional perspective, focusing on the aid-institutions paradox, where the analysis of aid and institutions is treated as a parallel to the resource curse.

The other winner is Dr Willem Boshoff, senior lecturer in the department, who was awarded the prize for best doctoral thesis. His supervisor was Prof Stan du Plessis. His thesis is entitled "Conceptual and empirical advances in antitrust market definition with application to SA competition policy", in which he developed quantitative tools for market demarcation. This is an important contribution, as much of competition policy uses the concept of a market as the basis for adjudication, but the way in which a market is defined will largely affect the level of market power a firm is judged to have, and consequently the appropriate response by competition authorities. An important theme in the study is that more success is secured if multiple tools of market definition are applied in demarcating markets and discovering anti-competitive actions. The exposition presents these multiple tools under three headings viz. consumer characteristics, price-time-series tests and market definition under uncertainty. Apart from the conceptual/methodological contributions, the thesis included applications of the different approaches to real world cases with relevance to South Africa.

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