Archive: The Dismal Science 2013

Obesity and Income

Eric Crampton Oct 05, 2015

If we’re tallying the social costs of obesity, what should we make of this one? Obese men make more money than their slimmer counterparts, according to new research from the University of Otago’s Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS).The opposite can be said for women, with obese or overweight women earning less than women of average weight. They were … Read More

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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

3 Strikes: It’s working

Eric Crampton Oct 02, 2015

It looks like New Zealand’s version of three-strikes for criminal offending is working. Here’s Graeme Edgeler’s analysis. You need to be careful when crafting OIA questions around this sort of comparison, and I am relying on the Ministry of Justice to have correctly understood my intention. It is not enough to compare the number of convictions before and after … 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

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