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Essays on the economic and financial challenges facing South Africa's commodity sector



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Baskaran, Gracelin 


This thesis is comprised of three standalone articles, each exploring a different dimension of South Africa’s platinum group metals (PGM) sector. The PGM sector is an insightful case study given that it is a microcosm of a deeply unequal country, marked by distrust between three distinct spheres – political, business and labor. The first article explores the governance dimension, by examining the extent to which PGM resources revenues have been used to advance economic growth and development. The second article takes an organizational economics approach, examining how firms have responded to endogenous and exogenous supply and demand shocks by shifting their strategies to both protect their core business activities while also meeting the expectations of stakeholders to improve shared-value outcomes. The third article examines the labor economics dimension by exploring how quantitative and qualitative job security vary amongst different sociodemographic groups as the PGM mining sector shifts from labor-intensive to capital-intensive mining through adoption of automated technology.





Fennell, Shailaja


mining, south africa, economic development, commodities, financial resilience, firms, labor economics


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Cambridge Political Economy Trust, Smuts Memorial Fund, Mary Euphrasia Mosely Grant, Lucy Cavendish College, POLIS Fieldwork Funding