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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - AAS Open Research
Title Small area estimation for South African resource distribution and policy impacts during COVID-19 [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]
Volume 5
Issue 17
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2022
The South African constitutional social justice commitment and equality duty requires that everyone is treated with equal consideration, but also tilts the scales in favour of the most disadvantaged. This paper explores the challenge of utilising publicly available data to promote social justice in resource distribution and fair access to essential services during crisis regulations, and explores Small Area Estimation (SAE) as a method to overcome some of these data challenges. The paper evaluates the strengths and limitations of the primary South African datasets that were available to inform fiscal and resource relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis. The potential to use SAE was found to be limited due to data constraints but statistics were generated at a district council level from data statistically representative at national level. This demonstrated stark disparities in hunger, access to medical products and piped water - all critical equality considerations during a pandemic. However, the level of disaggregation achieved with SAE is shown to be ineffective to represent the geographical disparities indicative of the true South African population, where extreme inequalities manifest in much closer proximities. This supports the need for improved statistical tools and more targeted and resolved data gathering efforts, to inform fair, social-impact conscious and equality-congruent regulatory impact, as well as just fiscal relief during crisis. Particularly, this work proposes the development of such tools and repositories outside of crisis times, to facilitate awareness of equality and justice issues during the tensions of national crisis.

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