FutureworkNZ

Who should invest their money between workers’ ears?

Guest Author Jul 22, 2019

John MacCormick   Training is an investment in “embodied human capital” – assets stored in workers’ heads. With indentured servitude now deservedly out of fashion, workers can choose to walk out the door without the boss separating those assets from their shoulders. Why would employers invest in assets that can quit? In a simplified labour market model, employers have no reason … Read More

Blocking agri-tech doesn’t mean we can block its undesired effects

Dave Heatley Jul 18, 2019

New tech. A traditional local industry. Who wouldn’t we be concerned about potential negative effects? So why don’t we just stop it at the border? The problem is that price effects can undermine the effect and the intent of banning tech at the border. In this post I explore three ways that could happen with new agri-tech and what lessons … Read More

What makes a job a good job?

Guest Author Jul 12, 2019

John MacCormick   There’s an old joke about an economist searching for her keys under a street lamp. She lost them somewhere up the street in the dark, but it’s easier to look where the light’s shining.1 John MacCormick If that still has any amusement value, it’s because there’s still some truth in it. When searching for the keys to … Read More

There’s no place like home

Guest Author Jul 11, 2019

Tim Maddock    Why don’t people move as often as economists expect? Some regions in New Zealand have much higher rates of unemployment than others. These differences are persistent, with little change over the past thirty years. Why might this be? If workers seek higher pay (and unemployment is painful) then we would expect workers in struggling regions to … Read More

The demand for statisticians and Easter bunnies

Dave Heatley Jul 08, 2019

The right job in the wrong place. For many, that’s the reality of job search in New Zealand’s less populated regions. And regional employers face the flip side – the right worker in the wrong place. Labour markets are inherently regional because commuting time subtracts from work and leisure time. On average, New Zealander workers spend 40 minutes a day … Read More

Could AI be the answer to our productivity woes?

Guest Author Jul 04, 2019

Judy Kavanagh    Regardless of the technology hype, we’re in a productivity slump worldwide. Will it rebound as robotics and AI deliver a boost? A couple of weeks ago I attended the OECD Global Forum on Productivity in Sydney with the not so snappy title “Keeping pace with technological change: The role of capabilities and dynamism”. My … Read More

Reading past the job-loss headlines

Dave Heatley Jul 01, 2019

“Machines take jobs” cry the headlines. A journalist friend once said the media only publish two stories: “it’s that terrible” and “isn’t that wonderful”. “Machines take jobs” is clearly “terrible”. But its logical opposite, “machines create jobs”, is unlikely to make the grade as “wonderful”. Such selection effects mean that bad news crowds out the good. Today I’m going to … Read More

Is the post-2012 acceleration in automation tech sustainable?

Dave Heatley Jun 28, 2019

Can automation tech keep improving at the current rate? First, how good is today’s AI-enabled software? There is no question that it is a lot better at specific tasks than its predecessors. These tasks are more than toys – they include classifying photos, language translation, speech recognition and text synthesis. My photo library has lived on … Read More

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