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In the last stretch of her Master’s degree, PARI fellow Jolandi Swanepoel has accepted a position at the Small Enterprise Foundation — a microfinance institution supporting rural women. It is with great pleasure that we wish Jolandi an excellent journey in her chosen field.

Master’s in Economics

I am nearing the end of my Master’s in Economics journey, with the planned submission of my thesis at the end of February with the title, ‘Determining and Assessing the Relative Efficiency of South African Local Government Based on Subjective Satisfaction’. This paper aims to quantitatively determine the relative efficiency of all local municipalities in South Africa using expenditure and subjective satisfaction with service delivery as the inputs and outputs respectively to calculate an efficiency score for each municipality using Data Envelopment Analysis. As a second stage analysis, various exogenous factors are regressed against the efficiency scores to determine which municipal characteristics are correlated with efficient municipalities. What makes this research interesting is that it delves into the realm of subjective measures, a thread of economic analysis that has not received a great deal of attention until recently. 

Research and Development

In terms of my new position, I am very excited to have started at the Small Enterprise Foundation recently, joining their Research and Development department. The Foundation is a microfinance institution that focuses on providing credit to women in rural areas who do not have access to formal credit services because of their lack of collateral. In my department, I get the opportunity to engage in both quantitative and qualitative research, with my skills in the latter having been developed substantially during my time at PARI. I have the rare opportunity to take part in the running of and evaluation of pilot programmes, which allows me the opportunity to apply my research skills practically to improve the lives of people. Having been exposed to a real-life research environment at PARI has assisted me in transitioning into this role smoothly and I hope that increasing my exposure to civil society will allow me to analyse state-society relations with greater understanding in the future.