Archive: The Dismal Science 2012

Experts: harness them, don’t let them set the course

Michael Reddell Oct 25, 2016

There was interesting long article in The Guardian the other day by Sebastian Mallaby, the author of a new biography of Alan Greenspan, on “The cult of the expert – and how it collapsed”.  His focus is central banking, but his concerns range much wider. For Mallaby, the (alleged) “collapse” of this “cult” is something to lament. Of course, … Read More

Productivity growth: how have we been doing?

Michael Reddell Oct 18, 2016

A few weeks ago I ran the chart below chart, showing quarterly real GDP per hour worked for New Zealand for the last decade or so.  I used an average of production and expenditure GDP, and Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) hours worked data.  The rather dismal picture was of no productivity growth at all for the last few years. Read More


Dangerous cheeses

Eric Crampton Oct 16, 2016

The NZ government continues its crusade against an elderly woman whose four cows produce the milk for her small-scale raw milk cheeses. My piece in this week’s Insights newsletter: Thomas Hobbes told us the State is necessary to protect us. The war of all against all that would ensue without a State to protect us from each other would … Read More

Auckland voter turn-out mapped

James Zuccollo Oct 12, 2016

I had a bit of a play around with mapping the voter return data from the 2016 Auckland local body elections (raw data available here).  I looked at it two ways: What areas had the highest/lowest turnout? (i.e. where is participation high/low) What areas had the highest raw number of votes? (“who elects the mayor”) Maps addressing these two … Read More


Education – private and public benefits

Eric Crampton Oct 11, 2016

Massey University’s Professor Giselle Byrnes, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Research, Academic and Enterprise), writes on the public benefits of tertiary education in this past week’s NBR. She makes a good case for the existence of public benefits; the main thrust of the piece is that the Productivity Commission’s report on tertiary pays insufficient heed to the public benefits while focusing on … Read More

New Zealand – envy of the world, or middling at best?

Michael Reddell Oct 05, 2016

Over the last couple of months I’ve lost track of the number of comments I’ve seen, from outlets that really should no better, about New Zealand’s economy at present being the envy of the world.  Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint seems a particularly egregious offender, but that might just be because I often have it on while I’m making dinner.  … Read More


How computer automation affects occupations: technology, jobs, and skills

Paul Walker Sep 22, 2016

A common argument you see with regard to computers and employment is that computer automation leads to major job losses. James Bessen deals with this issue in a new column at A modern version of the Luddite story. Bessen argues that this line of argument, however, ignores the dynamic economic responses that involve both changing … Read More

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