SU’s Economics Department to celebrate centenary with Nobel Prize winner address SU’s Economics Department to celebrate centenary with Nobel Prize winner address
One of the oldest economics departments on the continent, Stellenbosch University’s Department of Economics, is commemorating its centenary this year. In celebration of this... SU’s Economics Department to celebrate centenary with Nobel Prize winner address

One of the oldest economics departments on the continent, Stellenbosch University’s Department of Economics, is commemorating its centenary this year.

In celebration of this milestone, the Department is to present a webinar that will see Prof Abhijit Banerjee, who shared the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, deliver the keynote address. Banerjee is the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA and is widely regarded as an authoritative thinker in development economics.

The topic of his address is “Good economics for hard times” – the title of his 2019 book co-authored with fellow Nobel-prize winner Esther Duflo

  • The webinar will take place at 13:30 on Friday 9 October 2020. The webinar can be attended free of charge, but pre-registration, at www.econcentenary.com/#events, is required. (Direct link here).

The webinar will start with a short discussion of the history and future of the Department. A panel discussion on the present state of the economy will then follow, moderated by competition economist and professor extraordinary, Nicola Theron. Panellists include Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni, Economics professor and Chair of Media24, Rachel Jafta, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Rwanda, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, UCT labour economics professor, Haroon Bhorat, and CEO of both FNB Wealth and Investment and Ashburton Investments, Sizwe Nxedlana.

A short question session will follow.

MORE ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS CENTENARY

The Department was established in 1920 when the first SU professor of Economics, Johannes Grosskopf, took up this position. Since then, the names of lecturers such as Dr Maria le Lange de Reville, Professors Jan Sadie, Sampie Terreblanche, Estian Calitz, Colin McCarthy and many others have become synonymous with the Department.

With its 36 permanently employed faculty members, almost 3 000 undergraduate students and 158 postgraduate students, the Department is one of the largest at Stellenbosch University.

Prof Andrie Schoombee, chair of the Department, said the tradition of policy orientation in teaching and research is still a strong focus of the Department today.

“Policy orientation is what distinguishes us from other local economics departments. Nearly all research that we do here impact policy, either directly or indirectly.

“Research is focused around five research clusters: social and economic policy (including education and health); monetary and macro-economics; public economics; competition economics; and economic history.”

To facilitate these research foci, the Department has established the Research on Socio-Economic Policy (ReSEP) programme, as well as the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa’s Past (LEAP); and the Centre for Competition Law and Economics (CCLE).

However, the Department has also made a concerted effort not to prioritise research to the exclusion of teaching.

“Unlike some institutions abroad where research has become so important that they neglect time with their students, we have a very strong student focus,” explains Schoombee. “Our teaching is very important to us and we are very accessible to students.”

Schoombee has himself made a significant contribution to the development of the Department. In 2019, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for his excellent management. Under his leadership, the Department has played a pre-eminent role in research, teaching and community service, while also undergoing transformation in terms of its race and gender composition.

For more information about the Department:

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