The Dismal Science

Participation rates

Michael Reddell Nov 12, 2019

A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the unemployment rate in 1986 averaged 4.2 per cent, exactly the … Read More

Illicit markets and Bali Booze

Eric Crampton Nov 11, 2019

The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail laced with methanol hidden in their drink. Without taste … Read More

Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders

Eric Crampton Nov 07, 2019

The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working for Families, but that appears more controversial. We can go … Read More

Public health, externality, and vaccination

Eric Crampton Oct 31, 2019

Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I’ve heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There’s a clear market failure that could be pointed to in any sound Regulatory Impact Statement. In a place with … Read More

Data termination

Eric Crampton May 23, 2019

Awww, nutbunnies. In April, Paula Penfold and Eugene Bingham reported that 2500 women had had their requests for abortion turned down over the last decade. Me, and a few others, immediately started imagining some rather interesting research that could be done if those records could be linked up in the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). So I started making enquiries. Read More

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Breaking the pharmacy cartel

Eric Crampton Feb 15, 2019

I wish that government spent even half as much time looking at how its existing regulatory structures create cartels as it did in the rest of its antitrust enforcement. The Herald reports that a new entrant has finally started shaking things up in pharmacy, reducing costs to consumers. They get the framing entirely backwards, focusing on reduced earnings among … Read More

Good character?

Eric Crampton Jan 14, 2019

National wishes to impose a ‘fit and proper persons’ test for those supplying legal medicinal cannabis. National’s associate health spokesman Shane Reti said medicinal cannabis manufacturers and employees should be “fit and proper persons”. National has proposed clean slate legislation requiring no terms of imprisonment and no convictions for seven years for employees, and even tougher standards for licence … Read More