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

Do old people hurt growth? - The Dismal Science

Apr 16, 2015

A new paper (PDF) claims that ageing populations will hinder growth by both dis-saving and dragging down innovation, thus reducing productivity. Using a VAR model, they relate the age structure to measures of growth, saving, investment, and other macroeconomic variables over the 1990-2007 period. They use those coefficients to predict the effect of demographic change […]

Dole bludger army? - The Dismal Science

Mar 27, 2015

I see that some Australian TV show host said that New Zealand has the “dole bludger army” for support in the cricket.  Now something about intimate relationships with sheep or cows, or something about little country syndrome, or something about Lord of the Rings, would have been fine – banter is acceptable.  But his statement doesn’t make any sense, and feeds into a stereotype of New Zealanders in Australia that leads to real discrimination. So why doesn’t the stereotype hold up?  Well for one, Kiwis can’t get the unemployment benefit in Australia – they could pre-2000 but then things changed.  Just check it here.  It is common to see Australian media (and people I run into) complaining both that Kiwi’s are “stealing their jobs” and “stealing their benefits”.  In truth Kiwis are heading over there, without a security … Read More

GDP in three different charts - The Dismal Science

Mar 03, 2015

Flipchart Rick has a post up about Andy Haldane’s speech the other day and, like all Haldane’s work, it’s witty and engaging so you should definitely read it. The subject is the recent slowdown in growth in the developed world and it illustrates how different views of the same data can lead to very different […]

School choice and paternalism - The Dismal Science

Jan 23, 2015

There is a very interesting report out from the Social Market Foundation that investigates the characteristics parents value in a school. The core result is that less-wealthy families do not choose schools on the basis of academic achievement: This leads the SMF to express concern that school choice may not lift educational achievement because some parents […]

Performance pay for the public sector? - The Dismal Science

Jan 22, 2015

In December last year The Work Foundation released a comprehensive review of performance-related pay in the public sector: PRP schemes can be effective in improving outcomes across the three public services for which evidence is available (health, education and the civil service), although the central conclusion is that the outcomes from PRP are mixed, which […]

Alesina on austerity: round 2 - The Dismal Science

Jan 21, 2015

Alberto Alesina has returned to the fray with a new paper that shows how tax rises are far more damaging than tax cuts. With a new dataset covering the recessionary years, this is the most up-to-date evidence on fiscal consolidation available. Importantly, they are unable to discern evidence that the ZLB caused the effects of […]

The Economist’s misguided lecture to macroeconomists - The Dismal Science

Jan 19, 2015

In a bizarre leader article The Economist praises microeconomists for their use of data to better predict people’s behaviour and recommend macroeconomists do the same: Macroeconomists are puritans, creating theoretical models before testing them against data. The new breed [of microeconomists] ignore the whiteboard, chucking numbers together and letting computers spot the patterns. And macroeconomists […]