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Empowerment and Sociality among young people in South Africa.

14th Sep 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Justine Burns and Malcolm Keswell

About the Seminar

We study the causal effects of a novel empowerment programme targeted to young people living in distressed neighbourhoods in South Africa. In particular, we study the behavioural and psycho-social impacts of this programme. We find that the programme has positive impacts for altruistic giving, risk taking and psychological well-being. We also find positive treatment effects for trusting behaviour. There is mixed evidence that psychological distress at baseline are effect modifiers for both trust and trustworthiness. However, neither economic preferences (risk aversion) nor biological factors (reciprocal or unconditional altruism) are effect modifiers. Rather, trust behaviour modification is mediated through behavioural channels. Specifically, forms of belief updating about the trustworthiness of others. These findings have strong implications for targeted interventions in low trust societies. We discuss some of these implications.

About the Presenter

Malcolm Keswell is an associate professor in the school of Economics, and research associate in SALDRU, UCT. He has a Ph.D from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (2003). His research and teaching interests are in the fields of behavioural economics, experimental economics and development economics. His current research focuses on the economic, behavioural and psycho-social dimensions of distributive justice. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank and has held fellowships at the Santa Fe Institute. During President Mandela’s term in office, he served as a staff researcher for the Portfolio Committee on Land Affairs in the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. He was the 2005 recipient of the JJI Middleton Medal, awarded by the Economic Society of South Africa.

Hybrid Seminar 
Zoom Meeting Details
Meeting ID: 940 6835 5688
Passcode: 890731

Lunch will be served in the staff lounge at 12:30.
please RSVP for catering purposes



14th Sep 2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Amy Jephthah


UCT School of Economics, 4th Floor Seminar Room
UCT Middle Campus
Cape Town, Western Cape 7700 South Africa
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