James Zuccollo

James Zuccollo is a senior economist for UK consultancy Reform. He leads Reform’s economic research and has co-authored reports on monetary policy, fiscal institutions, and education funding among others. He has appeared on the BBC Today programme and written widely in the online and print media, including City AM, Prospect, The New Statesman, Public Finance, and The Guardian. Prior to Reform he was an economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) where he published work on economic impact assessment, regulatory reform, and the value of tertiary education. James is on Twitter @jzuccollo

Auckland voter turn-out mapped - The Dismal Science

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 questions are below.  Note that they don’t include Waiheke, mainly because it’s not part of the “Coastlines” shapefile I used to crop the board boundaries and I decided the effort of separately mapping the board area to the “islands” geographic shapefile wasn’t worth the effort given I have a day job (i.e. I am lazy).  If you are wondering, turnout on Waiheke was very high (58.6%). Percentage turnout Number of votes … Read More

Winners and losers of the past five years - The Dismal Science

Jul 30, 2015

In his evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on the Summer Budget 2015, George Osborne opined that: …distributional analysis is helpful. It helps inform the debate, and … shows how money is allocated by Government around the different income quintiles of society. HM Treasury’s draft results have now been published. They show that low income households suffered the smallest pre-tax fall in income through the recession. That is not entirely representative of low-income households’ experience because they were disproportionately exposed to unemployment, but it is interesting to see that upper-middle-income households saw the greatest fall in wages during the recession. The impact of changes to taxes and welfare payments over the last Parliament has attempted to reverse those costs by penalising those on low incomes with sharp cuts to benefit rates. However, … Read More

The male wage premium - The Dismal Science

Jul 25, 2015

Wage inequality between men and women has split opinion in the UK after the Government last week announced that all large firms would have to publish the gap in average earnings between their male and female employees. In light of that debate, today’s HESA data on the pay of recent graduates is interesting. It shows […]

RIP Seamus Hogan - The Dismal Science

Jul 24, 2015

I just heard that Seamus Hogan died unexpectedly last week. Seamus is one of the people I admired most and a role model for any young economist. He always had time to talk through any problem and help out, even for the greenest of young graduates. His loss will be keenly felt by all those who knew him. Read More

George Osborne explains Summer Budget 2015 - The Dismal Science

Jul 22, 2015

The first reckoning for any Budget is when the Office for Budget Responsibility releases its estimates of the fiscal and economic impact of the measures. The second is when the Chancellor appears in front of the Treasury Select Committee and explains the reasoning behind the Budget. George Osborne’s Summer Budget appearance happened yesterday and shed […]

Choice and reversibility - The Dismal Science

Jul 22, 2015

A fascinating talk by psychologist, Dan Gilbert. Ten years old but worth watching if you haven’t seen it before. The core point is that people get buyer’s remorse when choices are reversible and become increasingly unhappy with their decision. When choices are irreversible, endowment effects kick in and they become happier with their choice over […]

Treasury and the Reserve Bank have words - The Dismal Science

Jun 26, 2015

I am not blogging at the moment – and I’m incredibly sorry about that.  I won’t really be back until I can commit to being back properly – which won’t be until I’ve completed a lot of modeling work related to income inequality in New Zealand.  I am not back today to talk about any literature on inequality though – I realise there are a lot of things I can post about here, and I have views, and those views will come in due course.  But not today. However, there have been a multitude of developments I should post on regarding an issue I angrily stopped writing on nearly two years ago – the area of financial stability. Firstly, there is Michael Reddell’s blog.  He is a very good New Zealand economist who would be among the top of … Read More

Graph of the Day: How home batteries might benefit houses without solar - The Dismal Science

May 11, 2015

I’m pretty excited about the Tesla Powerwall, the home battery that was announced recently. People mostly think about home batteries as being important for solar.  For residential solar,  most of your generation is during the day when you aren’t home, so it gets sold back into the grid and therefore relies on the whatever the buy back rate set by your retailer is.  These rates are lower than the retail price of electricity so the real benefit is if you can store the “free” electricity you generate in a battery and then use it during peak hours instead of paying for electricity, thus avoiding your variable electricity charge of 20-30 c/kwh. So the economics of solar depend on whether your savings (avoided retail prices + electricity sold back into the grid) justify the cost of installing solar panels and … Read More