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Gibson Mudiriza

Gibson Mudiriza, Graduate Associate at the Poverty and Inequality Initiative, graduated with a PhD on 22 June 2018. Under the supervision of Prof. Lawrence Edwards, Director of the School of Economics at UCT, Mudiriza’s thesis examined the spatial patterns, convergence dynamics and causes of regional wage disparities in post-apartheid South Africa.

To conduct the analysis, Mudiriza constructed a unique dataset for 354 regions using the 1996, 2001 and 2011 population censuses. He found that wages differ significantly across regions and are characterised by spatial patterns that suggest the co-existence of new economic geography forces and features of alternative economic theories. Regional wages are shown to have converged over time, but the rate of convergence remains very low and disparities remain high compared to other emerging economies.

His research found that regional wage disparities are well-explained by new economic geography forces such as distance to markets, but only after controlling for regional specific factors such as human capital, mineral resource endowments, local climatic conditions, local unemployment and homeland status. His thesis highlights how differences in access to markets and regional factor endowments exacerbate and constrain regional wage convergence.

Mudiriza’s research interests are in the area of regional economic development with special focus on labour market, international trade, youth well-being, poverty, and inequality.