The Dismal Science

Immigration policy and emissions targets

Michael Reddell Oct 01, 2017

I’ve written a few posts in recent months about the connections between our immigration policy – materially boosting our population growth rate – and New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions (for example here and here).  New Zealand is unusual because, as the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) has highlighted: • we have a fairly high rate of trend population growth, … Read More

Quality matters: alcohol edition

Eric Crampton Aug 23, 2017

I’ve noted John Gibson’s work showing that standard demand estimation techniques overestimate the price elasticity of demand for sugary drinks, and consequently overestimate the effects of soda taxes. Gibson shows that, because most empirical work uses household expenditure on the product category divided by some measure of average price, that work bunches together consumer shifts along both quality and quantity … Read More

More evidence on alcohol, health and the ‘J-curve’

Eric Crampton Aug 18, 2017

Another study out on the alcohol-health J-curve. This one uses 13 linked waves of the US National Health Interview Survey series, 1997 to 2009, to look at all-cause mortality, cancer, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and drinking.* Lifetime abstainers are taken as baseline, so there is no sick-quitter confound. There could be confounding if those with poor health never begin drinking, … Read More

MBIE on how emissions reductions targets interact with immigration policy

Michael Reddell Jul 13, 2017

        No, that blank space wasn’t a mistake.  It was the sum total of everything MBIE has written or commissioned (analysis, advice, research, or whatever), in the period since the start of 2014 on how the appropriate or optimal immigration policy for New Zealand might be affected by commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the start … Read More

MBIE’s slick new collection of data

Donal Curtin Jul 04, 2017

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released the Labour Market Dashboard – a one-stop self-service tool which displays labour market information from many different sources in one place. According to Manager of Labour Market Trends Nita Zodgekar, one of MBIE’s roles is to advise on New Zealand’s labour market and develop policy solutions to grow … Read More

Chainsaws and aeroplanes

Eric Crampton Jul 01, 2017

I’m glad that the lumberjack tried this one here instead of in the States: It seems a no-brainer that chainsaws wouldn’t be an acceptable item to take as luggage on a plane, but a man in New Plymouth gave it a go anyway. After getting upset when he was told he couldn’t take the chainsaw on the plane, the … Read More

Alcohol access and harms in the military

Eric Crampton Jun 29, 2017

A large sample study of American enlisted soldiers, who turned 21 while enlisted, found large increases in alcohol consumption at the birthday but no increase in harms consequent to that consumption: no meaningful effect on suicidal tendencies, depression, tobacco use, physical fitness, psychological health, deployability, smoking, or job-related infractions. Recall too that, following Boes & Stillman, the RDD … Read More

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