Macroeconomists Hone Modelling Skills


The School of Accounting, Economics and Finance’s (SAEF) Macroeconomics Working Group (MWG) recently organised a three-day macroeconomics modelling workshop that was attended by academics from the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Zululand.

The workshop took place from 29 to 31 January at UKZN’s Westville campus and was facilitated by Economics academic Dr Christian Tipoy, who is an expert in Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) models.

Economics lecturer and founding member of the MWG Mr Simiso Msomi who headed the organising team said their primary objective was to develop the study of macroeconomics as a niche area at UKZN. In order to achieve this objective, he added, UKZN needs to be ahead of other institutions in terms of its knowledge base and skills.

‘We want to equip our members with technical knowhow at the frontier of knowledge required to solve sophisticated real-world macroeconomic problems,’ said Msomi.

‘This is why MWG economists are honing their modelling skills,’ he added

According to Acting College Dean of Research Professor Harold Ngalawa, the workshop not only covered DSGE Modelling, but the use of DYNARE and Bayesian Econometrics as well.

‘DSGE models are very complex representations of real world phenomena that are purposely built to take into account behavioural changes that occur as a result of changes in policy. These models are used in contemporary macroeconomics to solve general equilibrium problems. Due to their complexity, the DSGE models were not popular until recently when a team of CEPREMAP Researchers in France invented DYNARE with funding from Banque de France and DSGE-net, an international research network for DSGE modelling,’ he said.

‘DYNARE is a software platform that is used to solve, simulate and estimate DSGE models. To run DYNARE, researchers have a choice of running it inside programming softwares MATLAB (MATrix LABoratory) or GNU Octave. These softwares employ high level programming language aimed at solving linear and non-linear numerical problems,’ he added.

Words: Harold Ngalawa