Martine Visser

Martine Visser
University of Cape Town | UCT · School of Economics

PhD in Economics

About

82
Publications
56,634
Reads
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1,613
Citations
Citations since 2017
29 Research Items
1261 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
Additional affiliations
January 2001 - March 2007
University of Gothenburg
Position
  • PhD Student
January 2000 - present
University of Cape Town
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (82)
Preprint
Full-text available
We provide estimates of health priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic based on web-surveys administered in seven developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in 2022. Using the best-worst scaling method, respondents ranked the importance of seven health problems, including COVID-19 (the others were alcohol and drugs, HIV/AIDS, malaria,...
Article
This paper replicates and extends the study by Martey (2019) by investigating the effect of house ownership patterns and rental status on energy choices for lighting and cooking within the context of Rwanda. Unlike Ghana, Rwanda has a unique house ownership policy which could have implications on the findings of Martey (2019). As an extension, our...
Article
Full-text available
Can behavioural interventions achieve energy savings in non-residential settings where users do not face the financial consequences of their behaviour? Our paper addresses this question by using high-frequency data, leveraging social comparison and responsibility assignment in a large provincial government office building with 24 floors, a total of...
Article
Full-text available
We calculate the first distributional statistics for municipal water use with 14.9 million monthly billing records for a half million households in Cape Town, South Africa, from 2014 to 2018. These years span a historic drought and a multi‐faceted package of conservation programs that achieved a 50% citywide drop in consumption. We find that the to...
Article
In the 2016–2018 drought, Cape Town almost ran out of municipal water. Tariff increases, restrictions and campaigns brought big reductions in water use during the dry spring and summer months: 14.3% in September 2017, when non-compliant households were threatened with a water usage restriction meter; 17.2% in October, when a disaster plan threatene...
Article
Full-text available
Pervasive threats of climate change and land degradation have compounded the inherent low farm productivity problem in sub‐Saharan Africa. Though sustainable agricultural intensification practices have been shown to improve the resilience of farm production in the face of these emerging threats, they suffer low adoption rates typical of any technol...
Article
The city of Cape Town suffered a severe water crisis in 2018. At the peak of the drought in South Africa's Western Cape, a randomized control trial at 105 schools investigated the impact of two behavioral interventions to encourage responsible water usage: detailed water usage data feedback from smart meters, and an interschool competition. Interve...
Article
We examine how gender attitudes and performance under competitive situations in the lab reflect microenterprise outcomes in the renewable energy sector of Rwanda – a country with progressive gender policies despite its traditional patriarchal setup. We adopt the standard Niederle and Vesterlund (2007) experimental design in addition to a unique dat...
Article
This policy note provides a snapshot of water and sanitation measures implemented by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 14 countries in the Global South: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, Uganda and Vietnam. We find that many countries have taken a...
Article
Full-text available
Climate forecasting is a crucial tool for managing risks in climate-sensitive economic sectors like agriculture. Although rain-fed farming dominates livelihoods in Africa, information on access, use and impact of improved seasonal climate forecasting remains scanty. This paper addresses this gap using representative data from Northern Namibia. The...
Article
Limited non-farm opportunities in the rural areas of the developing world, coupled with population growth, means agriculture will continue to play a dominant role as a source of livelihood in these areas. Thus, while rural transformation has dominated recent literature as a way of improving welfare through diversifying into non-farm sectors, improv...
Research
Full-text available
Applications of lab experiments to real-world phenomenon are limited. We fill the gap by examining how gender attitudes and performance under competitive situations in the lab, reflects microenterprise outcomes in the renewable energy sector of Rwanda.-a country with progressive gender policies despite its traditional patriarchal setup. We use the...
Article
This study examines whether the presentation of billing information in a cognitively simple manner increases consumer understanding and satisfaction. 1325 participants were randomly assigned to different treatment groups and received one of nine redesigned utility bills or a standard bill. Comprehension and satisfaction were tested through a questi...
Preprint
Full-text available
The city of Cape Town suffered a severe water crisis in 2018. At the peak of the drought in South Africa’s Western Cape, a randomised control trial at 105 schools investigated the impact of two behavioural interventions to encourage responsible water usage: detailed water usage data feedback from smart meters, and an interschool competition. Interv...
Article
Full-text available
The slippery slope framework of tax compliance emphasizes the importance of trust in authorities as a substantial determinant of tax compliance alongside traditional enforcement tools like audits and fines. Using data from an experimental scenario study in 44 nations from five continents (N = 14,509), we find that trust in authorities and power of...
Article
Full-text available
Many South African schools struggle to maintain their water systems, particularly in the water-constrained Western Cape province, where the so-called Day Zero drought had intensified the urgency of saving water and increased the cost of supply. The problem is compounded by insufficient governmental funding, the lack of well-structured government po...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many South African schools struggle to maintain their water systems, particularly in the water-constrained Western Cape province, where the so-called "Day Zero'' drought had intensified the urgency of saving water and increased the cost of supply. The problem is compounded by insufficient governmental funding, the lack of well-structured government...
Article
We use a series of framed experimental games to test the role of access to credit and insurance on farm technology uptake with small-scale farmers in South Africa. Using Cumulative Prospect Theory ‘CPT’, we assess how insurance impacts technology uptake given risk preferences. Our findings suggest that risk aversion is linked to lower uptake of the...
Preprint
Faced with the threat of "Day Zero", when it was feared that Cape Town's taps could run dry, consumers reduced household water usage from 540 to 280 litres per household per day over the 36 months between January 2015 and January 2018. This paper describes the events that prompted this reduction. We look at how changes in water use were affected by...
Article
Full-text available
Faced with the threat of "Day Zero"', when it was feared that Cape Town's taps could run dry, consumers reduced household water usage from 540 to 280 litres per household per day over the 36 months between January 2015 and January 2018. This paper describes the events that prompted this reduction. We look at how changes in water use were affected b...
Preprint
Full-text available
Green nudges are an additional demand-side-management tool that can be used to reinforce government policy and improve policy outcomes. In this context, social comparisons have been shown to be particularly effective in the environmental space. Against the backdrop of a severe and sustained drought, this study estimates the impact of a social-norm...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this paper, we use behavioural insights to design a nudge aimed at reducing electricity consumption in 4 Dorp Street, a large office building with 24 floors, where several provincial government departments in the Western Cape are headquartered. We collected half-hourly meter readings from randomly assigned floors for the period 2015-2016. Result...
Preprint
Full-text available
The applied behavioural literature has found green nudges to be effective mechanisms for reducing residential water and energy consumption. This study estimates the impact of several such behavioural interventions on residential water consumption in Cape Town, South Africa-a setting characterised by both water austerity and extreme income inequalit...
Article
Full-text available
South Africa, a main food exporter in SADC, is characterised by a dual agricultural economy consisting of a well-developed commercial sector and smallholder, often subsistence, farming. Using the Ricardian cross-sectional framework, we examine the impact of climate change on a nationwide sample of crop, horticulture, livestock and mixed commercial...
Article
With the ongoing changes in climate, household food insecurity is likely to be more widespread in most small-holder and subsistence farm households in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the existence and extent of gendered household food security—or lack thereof—remains unclear. This study extends existing knowledge by assessing gender inequality in hous...
Article
This paper examines the impact of agriculture-related shocks on consumption patterns of rural farming households using 3 years of data from South Africa. We make two key observations. First, agriculture-related shocks reduce households’ consumption. Second, natural resources and informal social capital somewhat counteract this reduction and sustain...
Article
Despite the yield improvements associated with the adoption of new farming technologies and modern inputs, technology diffusion amongst small-scale farmers in developing countries is slow. In this context, given the inherently risky environments in which farmers in the developing world operate, poor households are thought to be caught in a risk-ind...
Article
International and domestic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions require a coordinated effort from heterogeneous actors. In this context, using a public good game with a climate change framing, the experiment reported here examines whether groups of heterogeneous individuals can meet a collective emission-reduction target through individual co...
Article
International commitments to reduce emissions must be negotiated between countries in a manner considered to be fair or equitable. While the burden-sharing principles commonly advocated in climate negotiations reflect different views of what constitutes a fair way to distribute the abatement burden, their use can also be strategically motivated to...
Article
Even though antiretroviral treatment is becoming more efficient and available, new HIV infections still occur. This is particularly the case in sub-Saharan Africa. Sexual transmission of HIV is still the main mode of transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, and multiple sex partners have been shown to be crucial for the spread of the epidemic. It is the...
Article
This study measures the link between expected health and contextual health uncertainty on sexual behaviours associated with the risk of HIV infection. We extend similar studies on the subject by focusing on contextual factors as a way of explaining individual sexual behaviour in low and high HIV infection areas across sub-Saharan Africa. Overall, w...
Article
This paper examines the impact of climate change on poor households across South Africa who practice subsistence farming to supplement their household income and dietary requirements. We consider three production systems: specialised crops, livestock and mixed crop-livestock farming. In general, we find specialised crop farmers to be the most vulne...
Article
Full-text available
Resource-poor rural South Africa is characterised by high human densities due to the historic settlement patterns imposed by apartheid, high levels of poverty, under-developed markets and substantially high food insecurity. This chronic food insecurity combined with climate and weather variability has led to the adoption of less conventional adapta...
Article
Full-text available
The illegal exploitation of abalone in South Africa has been escalating since the early 1990s. The South African government issued a ban on all wild abalone fishing in South Africa, effective 1 February 2008. This study explores the relationship between abalone poaching, use of the methamphetamine drug, criminal activity in the coastal communities...
Article
The illegal exploitation of wild abalone in South Africa has been escalating since 1994, despite increased enforcement, leading to collapse in some sections of its range. South Africa banned all wild abalone fishing in 2008 but controversially reopened the fishery in 2010. This paper formulates a poacher's model, taking into account the realities o...
Article
We explore the effect of income inequality and social attitudes on the cooperation and sanctioning in nine South African fishing communities where allocation of fishing rights have been unequal and controversial. In the Punishment treatment aggregate contributions towards the public good are signifcantly higher amongst unequal groups, with low endo...
Data
Full-text available
We examine behavioral models involved in the provision of public goods when income inequality exists within groups. Our sample consists of individuals from urban and rural South African fishing communities. We find that be-havior observed in unequal groups does not accord with models of inequality aversion or egocentric altruism which require an eq...
Article
Full-text available
Policy makers in many countries have perceived plastic-bag litter as a problem, and have used a variety of regulatory tools to address it. South Africa's current legislation on plastic-bags came into effect on 7 May 2003. It increased the thickness of the plastic used, charged a small levy and required that bags be sold rather than distributed grat...
Article
This paper explores the collective action problem as it relates to climate change and develops two models that capture the mitigation–adaptation trade‐off. The first model presents climate change as a disaster that will occur with certainty, and where both mitigation and adaptation reduce the size of the loss associated with the disaster (the so‐ca...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change represents a serious threat to the economic growth potential in low income countries. Instead of investing in growth, they may be drawn into strife and conflict. Climate change and the global politics to deal with it, could however also present a number of interesting opportunities for developing countries. Such opportunities may ari...
Article
While results from public good games with homogeneous players reflect the contribution norm of equal contributions, it is unclear what contribution norm will arise in a heterogeneous setting. Climate change is a perfect example of a social dilemma involving heterogeneous agents. As such, using a public good game with a climate change framing, this...
Article
Full-text available
The lack of cooperation and prevalence of free riding in efforts to reduce emissions reflects the public good dilemma synonymous with climate change: whereby individual incentives lead to sub-optimal outcomes. This study examines how cooperative norms can be fostered through democratic processes. Specifically, we assess whether a given policy affec...
Article
Full-text available
Policies to promote renewable electricity are increasingly seen as a way to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with electricity consumption and meet growing electricity demand. This paper reviews the international experience with one such policy, namely, renewable energy certificates, and considers important design aspects of a na...
Article
We used 2008 DHS data sets to construct child height- and weight-for-age Z-scores and used regression analysis to analyze the effects of different sources of drinking water and sanitation on child health outcomes in Nigeria. We also calculated the probability of a child being stunted or underweight as our measure of malnutrition among children aged...
Article
Full-text available
We estimate the risk attitudes of a large sample of small-scale fishers from various fishing communities along the west coast of South Africa, using subjects’ choices over lotteries with real monetary prizes. We find that participants are moderately risk averse and that risk attitudes vary with certain socio-demographic variables. In particular,...
Article
We use behavioral and experimental economics to study a particular aspect of the economics of climate change: the potential trade-off between countries' investments in mitigation versus adaptation. While mitigation of greenhouse gases can be viewed as a public good, adaptation to climate change is a private good, benefiting only the country or the...
Article
This paper analysed differences in the choice of health-care facility by ill individuals in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)- and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-affected households in the Free State province of South Africa. Secondary education, access to medical aid and household income were significant determinants of choice as were...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change mitigation presents us with a social dilemma: while mitigation benefits everyone, individuals lack the incentive to alter their behaviour, since they can reap its benefits while failing to reduce their own emissions. Using a 'public good' experiment with a climate change framing, the scope for cooperation in meeting a national mitiga...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the collective action problem as it relates to climate change and develops two models that capture the mitigation/adaptation trade-off. The first model presents climate change as a certain disaster, while the second models climate change as a stochastic event. A one-shot public goods experiment with students reveals a relatively...
Article
This paper explores whether any investment products or strategies in South Africa take environmental sustainability into account. By looking at how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are used in investment decision making, we found that most socially-responsible investment products and responsible investment strategies largely foc...
Article
Full-text available
In May 2003 South Africa introduced legislation intended to decrease plastic bag litter. It combined standards and price-based economic tools in an attempt to reduce the public's demand for plastic bags. This paper analyses the short term effects of the legislation on bag demand. It also provides a background to these regulations and a theoretical...
Article
This paper empirically assesses links between expectations of future health and income on sexual risk taking on a sample of young adults in Cape Town, South Africa. An important contribution of the paper lies in combining a wide range of variables measuring risky sexual behavior such that the maximum information possible is extracted from, and adeq...
Article
Studies have shown that there are differences in cooperative behavior across countries. Furthermore, differences in the use and the reaction on the introduction of a norm enforcement mechanism have been documented in cross-cultural studies, recently. We present data which prove that stark differences in both dimensions can exist even within the sam...
Article
Full-text available
Heterogeneity, be it in terms of wealth, race or gender differences, affects the ability of communities and groups to resolve collective action prob-lems. However, the theoretical, empirical and experimental literature in this field remains mixed and often, contradictory. In this paper, we report the results of linear public goods games conducted w...
Article
This paper analyses the impact of income inequality on public good provision in an experimental setting. A sample of secondary school students were recruited to participate in a simple linear public goods game where income heterogeneity was introduced by providing participants with unequal token endowments. The results show that endowment heterogen...
Article
In May 2003 South Africa introduced legislation intended to decrease plastic bag litter. It combined standards and price-based economic tools in an attempt to reduce the public's demand for plastic bags. This paper analyses the short term effects of the legislation on bag demand. It also provides a background to these regulations and a theoretical...
Article
The effects of stake size on cooperation and punishment are investigated using a public goods experiment. We find that an increase in stake size does neither significantly affect cooperation nor the level of punishment.
Article
It is often contended that rural development works most effectively when beneficiary communities are active project participants, and not the passive recipients of assistance. This paper analyses participatory development through the lens of public goods theory. South Africa's Community Water Supply & Sanitation Programme is discussed as a case stu...
Article
The effects of stake size on cooperation and punishment are investigated using a public goods experiment. We find that an increase in stake size does neither significantly affect cooperation nor the level of punishment.
Article
Full-text available
Community-based water supply projects in rural South Africa have frequently proved unsustainable, with many communities unable to raise sufficient funds to meet operation and maintenance costs. A key obstacle to cost recovery (and the focus of this paper) is the free rider problem. As rural water services are frequently supplied as a public good, t...
Article
Full-text available
Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effect...
Article
Full-text available
Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effect...
Article
Full-text available
We explore the effect of income inequality on voluntary provision of public goods within nine South African fishing communities. A novel contribution of our work is illustrating the effect of social institutions such as peer punishment within unequal public goods settings. In the presence of peer sanctioning the positive effect of inequality on agg...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyses differences in the choice of health care facility by ill individuals in HIV/AIDS-affected households in the Free State province of South Africa. Secondary education, access to medical aid, and household income are significant determinants of choice, as are severity and type of illness, and type of health care required. Ill perso...
Article
This paper analyses differences in the choice of health care facility by individuals in HIV/AIDS-affected households in the Free State province of South Africa. Illness is more prevalent and severe amongst poorer affected households. The probability that individuals seek private versus public health care conditional on individual and household spec...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have indicated that there may be untapped potential for exports from non-SACU SADC countries to the SACU market. The share of non-SACU markets in exports to the rest of the world has been increasing while the SACU share has remained the same. Concerns have been raised that the size of the South African economy and the net trade sur...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this working paper is to investigate the optimal regulatory routes from a competition and public interest point of view for the South African water industry. The working paper presents the basic conditions of the water sector by outlining the main characteristics of water, providing an historical and international overview of water manag...
Article
Full-text available
The textile, clothing production, sugar, and agro-processing largely account for intra-regional cross-border supply chains, and drives trade within the region. These industries hold potential for strengthening ties throughout the region by integrating value-added supply chains and intra-industry trade (IIT) across borders. Moreover the Southern Afr...
Article
Full-text available
We provide, as far as we know, the first empirical test for the influence of an individual's social environment on his or her cooperative and norm-enforcement behavior. For this end, a unique data set is created based on a series of public goods experiments conducted in Cape Town, South Africa. Our main empirical results clearly confirm that social...
Article
Heterogeneity, be it in terms of wealth, race or gender differences, affects the ability of communities and groups to resolve collective action prob-lems. However, the theoretical, empirical and experimental literature in this field remains mixed and often, contradictory. In this paper, we report the results of linear public goods games conducted w...

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Projects (3)
Project
Helping South African schools reduce their water and electricity bills, and saving the world, of course, through - behavioural - efficiency - renewables.