Corné van Walbeek

Professor at the School of Economics and Principal Investigator of the Economics of Tobacco Control Project, University of Cape Town

Corné van Walbeek is currently a Professor at the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town. He joined UCT in 2000 as a Senior Researcher in the Applied Fiscal Research Centre, and began teaching in the School of Economics in 2001. Before joining UCT Corné was a manager in a fruit exporting company for three years and a lecturer at Stellenbosch University for six years. 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. Within this field, 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. His PhD thesis, completed in 2005, was entitled “The Economics of Tobacco Control in South Africa”. Furthermore, he has consulted the government in Jamaica and research groups in East Africa about tobacco control. Recently his research has had a strong international and cross-sectional focus. Together with Evan Blecher, their work has popularised the idea that the effectiveness of excise tax increases should be evaluated in terms of cigarette affordability, more than simply the price of cigarettes. The concept, although simple and intuitive, is gaining prominence in the literature and with the World Health Organization, and affordability measures are included in cross-country surveys of tobacco variables.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor at the School of Economics and Principal Investigator of the Economics of Tobacco Control Project, University of Cape Town