Archive: The Dismal Science 2012

Marsden Maths

Eric Crampton Oct 02, 2015

Motu’s released the working paper they’d presented at the NZAE meetings earlier this year. They show that Marsden grants do increase research output. But as for whether the programme is cost effective? Well, that’s more fun. The average researcher on teams receiving Marsden grants made 6 proposals and received 1.2 grants over the period 2000-2012. The Fund allocated … Read More

Alcohol heartbreaker

Eric Crampton Oct 01, 2015

The correlation between alcohol consumption and any particular disorder matters a lot less than the link between alcohol consumption and overall mortality. Anti-alcohol folks like to talk a lot about that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk (while ignoring that moderate consumption reduces stroke and heart disease); the other side downplays the cancer link while highlighting the cardiovascular benefits. They’re … Read More


Canada and the TPP

Eric Crampton Sep 28, 2015

Canada, you make me sad. Late last week, the Liberals said they won’t support any TPP deal that makes concessions on supply management in dairy. This is no longer the party of Martha Hall Findlay, who was about the lone voice of sanity on Canadian dairy. Here’s how the Liberals’ ag critic is now pitching it: “If … Read More

Who’s been ‘buying up’ New Zealand?

Donal Curtin Sep 26, 2015

There’s a huge interest in foreign investment in New Zealand – it’s front page news when Chinese investors aren’t allowed to buy farms, or Asian investors are supposedly snapping up Auckland houses, and the piece I wrote about Statistics NZ’s data on foreign direct investment has had by far the biggest number of pageviews of anything I’ve written recently. Read More

The Volkswagen debacle

Eric Crampton Sep 24, 2015

Oliver Hartwich sums things up nicely over at Business Spectator. In a way, Volkswagen’s crime was a very Germanic response to a business problem: It rendered regulatory standards useless by sophisticated engineering. Or, to say it with the famous Audi slogan, it tried to gain Vorsprung durch Technik (‘Advancement through technology’). … This is a corporate PR catastrophe of the … Read More

Refugees: Let us help

Eric Crampton Sep 12, 2015

Here’s my piece in our Insights newsletter on refugees and that the government shouldn’t stand in the way of those who would help. It is really hard not to sympathise with calls for increasing the refugee quota. Seeing the pictures from the Mediterranean tugs at the heartstrings. But is increasing the refugee quota the best we can do? I discussed … Read More

Refugees and the economy

Eric Crampton Sep 10, 2015

Richard Meadows at the Press asked me whether I’d seen any reports on the costs and benefits of accepting more refugees. I’ve not seen any real cost-benefit assessments, though I have seen indications that, in US data, huge numbers of refugees had zero effect on local labour markets – David Card’s work on the Marial boatlift. I’ve copied below what … Read More

Economic performance since 1952 for Her Majesty’s realms and territories

Michael Reddell Sep 09, 2015

Today Queen Elizabeth becomes the longest-reigning British monarch (as others have noted, she became New Zealand’s longest-reigning monarch a couple of years ago). By 1952 a few places that had been British possessions or protectorates had already become independent (eg India, Pakistan, Israel, Ireland) but the extent of Her Majesty’s territories was still quite astonishingly large.  The Conference Board has GDP per … Read More

Closing the gap with Australia: only the OECD seems to think so

Michael Reddell Sep 08, 2015

A friend asked me yesterday for the latest GDP per capita numbers for New Zealand and Australia.  His interest was a point estimate, to compare current levels in the two countries.  I went back to him with the series I would normally consider best for that purpose: the OECD’s measure of current price GDP per capita, converted to a … Read More

Censorship follies

Eric Crampton Sep 07, 2015

The on-again off-again New Zealand ban on the novel “Into the River” is on again, thanks to Board of Review Chair Don Mathieson. Recall that New Zealand has a censor’s office that can review books sent to it for review. Request that a book be classified and the Office of Film and Literature will have a look. It can put … Read More

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