Matt Nolan

Matt Nolan is an economist with the forecasting team at Wellington-based Infometrics. He enjoys writing on a broad range of economic issues; however his focus is on the household sector including the labour market and consumer spending. Within Infometrics, he is responsible for forecasting the outlook for consumer spending and the labour market, and giving clients an idea of the risks around these forecasts – and what they mean for their bottom line.

The importance of asking why on productivity - The Dismal Science

Sep 24, 2013

A neat article (on Prod Blog here), and corresponding paper, by the Productivity Commission on New Zealand’s productivity performance over the past couple of decades.  This is a descriptive paper, which runs along side the recent productivity symposium, and the upcoming set of papers which will turn up in the Productivity Commissions ‘Productivity Hub‘. “Productivity” is […]

Translation: Shifting the risk to the taxpayer - The Dismal Science

Sep 19, 2013

I’m seeing a lot of this recently (via Twitter) The Israeli model is successful because the Israeli government, rather than funding incubator managers, invest in start-up companies to the tune of $500k to $750k. The model integrates 85% government and 15% private first stage investment, with the government input reducing risk at the early stages […]

The importance of evidence for policy - The Dismal Science

Sep 04, 2013

Good paper by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science advisor on policy – focused strongly on transparent evidence based policy.  I can’t disagree with this as a framework! 1) identifying problems; 2) measuring their magnitude and seriousness; 3) reviewing policy options; 4) systematically assessing likely consequences of options; and 5) evaluating results of policy interventions. When […]

Math, reading, and purpose - The Dismal Science

Aug 23, 2013

Noah Smith recently smashed math in economics (specifically macroeconomics) stating: Math can also be used as obscurantism; if every paper in a field starts with a dense thicket of formal statements and functional equations, it will be difficult for even very smart outsiders to come in and evaluate what the people in a field are […]

Resource booms and income distribution - The Dismal Science

Aug 22, 2013

Via Vox Eu comes a piece looking at the distributional consequences of resource booms – using Australian data.  Their conclusion: We need good time series data from developing countries to see whether the distributional impact is bigger there than what we find for Australia. Until then, the analysis here seems timely and relevant, not just […]