Visiting PhD Fellow from UNU-MERIT: Rafael de la Vega

22 Oct 2023
Rafael de la Vega
22 Oct 2023

The DPRU is pleased to welcome Rafael de la Vega, a third-year PhD fellow at UNU-MERIT, who will be visiting the Unit for the next few months.

Rafael has a background in industrial engineering and economics, and has experience as a lecturer in undergraduate and MBA courses. He was also a researcher/consultant in a broad scope of industrial engineering projects at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Uerj).

His thesis investigates the connections between structural change and income inequality. For the first chapter, he is working on a meta-analysis on the evidence about how changes in the sectoral composition of an economy affect its level of inequality. His research interests also include sectoral transformation and technological change.

His reason for visiting South Africa, the University of Cape Town and the DPRU, is linked to his eagerness to learn more about the current state of the discussion on how sectoral and technological change affect income inequality in South Africa. His initial interest in the matter came from his familiarity with the Brazilian case, and he can see points of approximation - but also the different historical processes that took place in the two countries - so he is looking forward to better understanding to which extent they are comparable, or not.

We look forward to hosting Rafael at the DPRU, and trust that it will be a professionally and personally rewarding experience. 

School of Economics Seminar: Rafael presented "Structural change and income inequality: a meta-analysis" at a recent UCT SoE Seminar, on 16 October 2023. Here is the abstract from his presentation:

"The literature on structural change and income inequality has reached mostly inconclusive results. Papers, however, are very heterogeneous in their approaches. In this paper we perform a meta-analysis of this literature to investigate patterns between methodological choices and results. Structure is understood mainly as the sectoral composition of an economy and inequality as its within-country income inequality. The meta-analysis is performed on 686 individual regressions coming from 44 papers. Preliminary results indicate no evidence of publication bias but also no evidence for presence of overall effect. However, it seems likely that different subsamples have antagonistic effect sizes which cancel themselves out on the overall analysis. This seems particularly true for the choice of measuring structure as the size of agriculture versus the size of industry. Other methodological choices also seem to drive heterogeneity in the results, such as adopting an econometric technique robust to endogeneity or the inclusion of certain groups of covariates."