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Economic uncertainty in South Africa

Laurie Binge and Willem Boshoff ()

Economic Modelling, 2020, vol. 88, issue C, 113-131

Abstract: The idea that heightened uncertainty among firms contributed to the Great Recession and the lacklustre subsequent recovery has inspired a substantial literature examining the impact of changes in uncertainty on output and investment decisions. Yet to date there has been little research on business uncertainty in emerging markets. This paper is one of the first to develop a set of survey-based proxies for business uncertainty for an emerging market, South Africa, based on micro-data from business tendency surveys. These survey-based proxies are combined with more common measures of uncertainty, based on financial data and text mining, to obtain a composite measure of economic uncertainty. The paper then examines whether the uncertainty indicators have plausible and significant relationships with real economic activity, even after controlling for other economic variables. The indicators exhibit a significant negative correlation with real GDP growth, consistent with the findings for developed countries, and a positive shock to uncertainty is generally followed by a significant decrease in real activity growth.

Keywords: Business tendency surveys; Uncertainty; Business cycles (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C83 D81 E32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2019.09.013

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