Researchers

Prof. Corné van Walbeek

Director of REEP and Professor, School of Economics, University of Cape Town

Corné is a Professor at the School of Economics at UCT, and the Director of REEP. His research interests are primarily in the economics of tobacco control, and in particular how changes in the excise tax on tobacco products can affect cigarette consumption. He developed the Tobacco Excise Tax Simulation Model (TETSiM), which is often used to determine the likely fiscal and consumption impact of a change in the level or the structure of the excise tax. His research has focused on the estimation of price elasticities of demand, how excise tax increases impact the poor, changes in smoking by different demographic groups over time, and the industry’s reaction to changes in the tobacco excise tax. In recent years his research has been focused on measuring illicit trade. In addition, Corné also has a lively research interest in the economics of alcohol policy and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Estelle Dauchy

Dr. Estelle Dauchy

Principal Research Investigator (Professor) at REEP, University of Cape Town

Estelle is the Principal Research Investigator (research equivalent of Professor). Prior to joining REEP in 2024, Estelle was the associate director of international research the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids in Washington DC, where she led research and provided technical assistance to tobacco control advocates, research think tanks, and government officials to support effective tax reforms aimed to reduce the use of harmful products in several countries. Dr. Dauchy was previously an assistant professor at universities in China and Russia where she taught several courses and pursued research in public finance. After receiving her PhD from the University of Michigan, she also spent a few years at Ernst & Young’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics, Washington D.C. as senior economist in international corporate tax policy. Her research covers all aspects of tobacco economics. In recent years she has become specialized in the economics of new and emerging tobacco & nicotine products (e.g., ENDS, HTPs).

Zunda Chisha

Research Officer and the Programme Director of the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Tobacco Taxation

Zunda is a Research Officer at REEP, and the Programme Director of the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Tobacco Taxation. He is currently a PhD candidate focusing on the economic interactions of alcohol and tobacco use. His PhD topic aims to investigate the nature of the relationship in the consumption of the two products and their effects on the South African population at household and individual level. He is also involved in a project on the impact of cigarette tax increases on the illicit cigarette market in low- and middle-income countries. Zunda holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Zambia, and a Master’s degree in health economics from UCT. As a health economist with experience in public health, program implementation and research, Zunda is skilled in data management with expertise in qualitative data analysis and modelling applications.

Vanessa Darsamo

Research Officer

Vanessa is a Research Officer at REEP, working on research on taxation and consumer behavior for cigarettes, waterpipe tobacco, and sugar-sweetened beverages. She is currently registered for a PhD in Economics. Vanessa holds two Master’s degrees: one in Applied Economics and another in Development Economics from the University of Cape Town. One of her Master’s theses focused on sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) affordability and the SSB demand elasticities in Nigeria.

Sam Filby

Sam Filby

Research Officer at REEP and the Tobacco Taxation Manager of the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Tobacco Taxation

Sam is a Research Officer at REEP and the Tobacco Taxation Manager of the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Tobacco Taxation. She is also a PhD candidate (Economics), and contract lecturer and course convenor in the School of Economics at UCT.  Sam has been affiliated with REEP since 2016 and joined the Unit as a permanent staff member in 2019. Her research interests include the economics of tobacco, alcohol and e-cigarette control in low-and-middle income countries.

Kirsten

Kirsten van der Zee

Research Officer

Kirsten is a Research Officer at REEP. She has a Master’s degree in applied economics, from UCT, and joined REEP in 2017. Kirsten has conducted tobacco tax simulation modelling for numerus country contexts, and engaged with policymakers to advocate for tax reform. She has been involved in data collection, including tobacco price surveys and smoker surveys. She has published research in the areas of illicit trade in tobacco, tobacco taxation, and others. The majority of her work has been focused on the African continent but has also extended beyond.

Nicole Vellios

Research Officer

Nicole is a Senior Research Officer at REEP. She graduated with a PhD in economics from UCT in 2022. Nicole’s PhD thesis focused on the economics of quitting cigarette smoking in South Africa. Using survival analysis techniques applied to data from the National Income Dynamics Study and price data from government documents, she found that an increase in the price of cigarettes is significantly associated with quitting behaviour. By surveying UCT students, and showing them various cigarette packs with different attributes, she found that plain packaging (where all branding is removed and graphic health warnings are printed on cigarette packs) would reduce the demand for cigarettes. Since access to cheap, illicit cigarettes could reduce the effectiveness of excise tax increases and plain packaging in reducing smoking prevalence, she measured the size of the illicit market. She found that, since 2010, illicit trade increased sharply, and accounted for about a third of the total market in 2017. Updated estimates show that illicit trade in 2022 accounted for around 60% of the total market. Nicole has published papers on tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and student tuition fees at UCT.

Dr. Leoné Walters

Dr. Leoné Walters

Senior Research Officer

Leoné joined REEP in January of 2024 as a Senior Research Officer. She is an applied economist that combines insights from economics, political economy and history. Her research aims to better understand the political economy and economic history of the tobacco and alcohol landscapes. She is interested in the dynamics between economic and political actors, and institutions within the tobacco and alcohol sectors, exploring their socio-economic consequences and how policy can address this. Leoné holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Pretoria. Prior to joining REEP, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Laboratory for the Economics of Africa’s Past (LEAP) in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University.

Mxolisi Zondi

Mxolisi Zondi

Junior Research Officer

Mxolisi works as a Junior Research Officer at REEP. He studied Economics and Statistics for his Bachelor’s degree and completed a Masters degree in Econometrics at the University of Pretoria in 2021. He has worked with tax and survey data before and is passionate about data quality. At REEP, he focuses on enhancing the unit's research capacities using new and innovative datasets and also work with tax simulation models.

Former Postdoctoral fellows

Micheal Kofi Boachie

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Micheal is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at REEP. He received his BA and MPhil degrees in Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, and a PhD (Economics) degree from Annamalai University, India. Micheal has research interests in Health Economics and the economics aspects of Tobacco Control.

Chengetai Dare

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Chengetai is a Research Fellow at REEP. He holds a BSc Economics and MSc Economics, both from the University of Zimbabwe. He received his PhD from Stellenbosch University. His research interests are tax policy, tax administration, health economics, public economics and behavioral (experimental) economics.

Zachary Gitonga

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Zachary is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at REEP. He completed his PhD (Economics) at the University of Cape Town. He holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Nairobi. Zachary has research interests in impact evaluation, applied research in development and health economics. Previously he worked as a research associate at CIMMYT, a research assistant at the University of Nairobi, and an MSc. research fellow at ICIPE.

Joshua Magero

Former Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Joshua recently completed hi PhD in Economics with UCT. He is from Kenya and will be based there until April 2022.

Consultants

Megan Little

Megan conducts research and data analysis for a range of projects at the Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) in the fields of poverty, education, health and household structures. An example of her research includes: "Evaluating the impact of tobacco tax adjustments on illicit tobacco trade in the country of Georgia" (published in the Economics of Tobacco Control Journal, January 2019).

Chipo Rusere

Chipo is a Project Coordinator for a Cape Town-based sustainable development consultancy. She is from Zimbabwe, and was awarded her Masters in December 2019 at UCT. In her Master’s thesis, Chipo assesses the implementation of Zimbabwe’s current tobacco-control legislation, and how it aligns with the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. She is currently enrolled for a second Master’s in Climate Change and Sustainable Development.