TRADE Research

In 2021 TRADE members published 104 research articles in accredited journals, with a total research output of 65 article equivalents. 

Subject Fields and Research Programmes


It is against the background of the research strengths, interests and outputs of the members of TRADE as well as the country’s national priorities, that the following five sub-research fields have been identified and implemented:





Macro-economics, Development Economics, Labour Economics, Gender and Feminist Economics, as well as applied Microeconomics and Econometrics, financial development and its linkages with economic growth, labour markets, industrial policy and issues of human capital, time use and other, applied microeconomic studies as well as issues of underemployment and subjective well-being, economic geography, fiscal policy and economic growth, feminist economics, labour dynamics such as employment and wages, globalization, economic diversification, and financial inclusion. Green and Ecological Economics are gaining prominence in publications as issues on economics education, food insecurity, poverty, and housing insecurity.

From 2022, transport logistics will also form part of the economics sub-research field.

International Trade

Export promotion; import substitution; trade policy development; regional integration; export-led growth; competitiveness; international market analysis and selection; trade facilitation; global value chain analysis; digital trade; firm-level exports; policy analysis; international marketing and investment promotion.

Risk Management

Financial markets, bank risk management and investment management. Several articles from this subject field have been published on financial markets (volatility), investment and portfolio management (valuation models, asset pricing, performance measures, risk tolerance, risk profiling), derivative instruments (financial and agricultural derivatives) and bank risk management (operational risk and reputational risk).

Agricultural Economics

Agricultural development, food security, competitiveness and sustainability, linking farmers to high-value markets, business plans and feasibility studies.


Financial management of risks and valuations, taxes (currently retirement tax and sin tax versus grants and COVID-29) and accounting education – specifically IT needs for accountancy professionals.

Special Projects

Dr David Spies has done continued research since 2015 for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (Paris, France) to provide data for the estimation of the Producer Support Estimate (PSE) for South Africa for the annual edition of the organisation's monitoring and evaluation reports. Drs Ernst Idsardi and David Spies completed a project for the South African Red Meat Producer Organisation to analyse South Africa’s import tariffs on red meat products.

Dr Idsardi is also part of a multi-university consortium (led by the University of Helsinki, Finland) that tendered for an EU project on making agricultural trade sustainable (MATS).  He is the task leader of T1.3 of WP1 of the project MATS.  Deliverable D1.3 ‘Discussion paper and infographic(s) on the role of sustainability goals in trade rules’ is available both via the project website here and the open access platform Zenodo. In addition, Dr Idsardi is leading the case study ‘Ethical Trade Initiatives in the South African Wine Industry’ (the Stellenbosch University as local partner for the case study). More information can be found here.