The Dismal Science

Stoned driving

Eric Crampton Jun 20, 2016

It’s hard to get a good read on the risks of driving while stoned. It matters because it’s one of the less crazy objections to marijuana legalisation.  If penalising driving while stoned is hard, if it is risky and if consumption increases under legalisation – that could be a cost of legalisation. Existing estimates are a bit of a problem. Read More

90 Days

Eric Crampton Jun 20, 2016

Motu’s had a look at the effects of the 90 day trial legislation. Under that legislation, employers could hire employees on a trial basis and dismiss them relatively easily within that 90 day window. Supporters of it expected it to encourage employment of riskier employees; opponents expected substantial churn: that employers would somehow figure it made sense to hire people … Read More

E-cigarettes to tobacco: exploring the relationship between risky activities

Eric Crampton Jun 16, 2016

Suppose you observed that kids who tried some risky-looking novel activity X were more likely to go on to try some other risky activity Y. Should you conclude that X leads to Y, or that kids who are risk-, sensation-, or novelty-seeking will exhibit that on more than one margin? Cohort selection effects matter: the ones who try X aren’t … Read More

The Herald’s wrongheaded call for an ever-bigger population

Michael Reddell May 28, 2016

The Herald’s editorial on Saturday was headed “Population growth is powering NZ economy”.  It isn’t just a statement of the rather obvious, that a rapid growth in the population –  particularly unexpectedly rapid growth – boosts total GDP.    When there are more people, they all need to consume stuff, and they need houses, schools, shops, roads, offices etc.  And … Read More

Budget 2016: No drama – and that’s fine

Donal Curtin May 26, 2016

First thing I’d say about yesterday’s Budget is that I hope the central economic forecasts work out as expected. If we do indeed get annual economic growth of close to 3% a year, low inflation, and the unemployment rate gradually falling to 4.6% by 2019, we’ll be doing quite nicely, thank you. The growth numbers aren’t as hot if you … Read More

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