The Dismal Science

Alcohol harms and the NZ reforms

Eric Crampton Jun 12, 2018

Man, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. The Science Media Centre pointed me to reporting on some new work look at what’s happened consequent to National’s Sale & Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. It always felt like a spot where some really good work could be done. Different locales implemented different district licensing plans at different times, so … Read More

Why are we gifting so much to farmers?

Michael Reddell May 29, 2018

Despite announcing yesterday a plan that aims to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand, there was no sign of the pro-active release of any background papers or analysis. We don’t have copies of the relevant Cabinet papers, or the relevant advice from The Treasury or MPI. Not that long ago, the incoming government talked of its commitment to open government, … Read More

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Regulatory Catch-22?

Eric Crampton May 25, 2018

Last month’s court decision, and subsequent MoH position statement, mean that heat-not-burn tobacco products are legal to sell in New Zealand.  But the MoH position statement said that other tobacco control regulations will apply to reduced-risk tobacco and tobacco-derived products, barring the ban on indoor use in workplaces. Therefore, the same SFEA regulatory controls apply to smoked tobacco, heated … Read More

Otago and disagreement

Eric Crampton May 11, 2018

Every time I think that the University of Otago’s Public Health people can’t get any worse, they go and surprise me. Today, the Initiative launched Jenesa Jeram’s excellent report on vaping and reduced-harm alternatives to smoking. It walks through the evidence on the risks of vaping, heat-not-burn products, and snus, and makes some recommendations around liberalising access so that … Read More

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Crowding out

Eric Crampton May 10, 2018

You should always worry at least a bit about whether a government programme crowds out some other private sector initiative. A state-provided daycare centre could crowd out existing private providers. A welfare programme could crowd out existing charitable programmes. And government house-building schemes could crowd out private development. The mechanism for crowding out is simple if you spend a few … Read More

A generous subsidy that pays off?

Michael Reddell May 10, 2018

Reading the Herald over lunch, I chanced upon a story under the headline $50m PhD subsidy pays off.   That is the $50 million per annum subsidy put in place more than a decade ago that allows foreign PhD students to study at domestic fees (apparently a saving for them for more than $30,000 per annum each), allows full domestic … Read More

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Mind the gap

Donal Curtin May 09, 2018

We’ve been lucky, over the past year, to see two top-notch, data-heavy analyses of the gender pay gap appear in New Zealand. One, from March last year, is by AUT’s Gail Pacheco, ‘Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in New Zealand’, and was done for the Ministry for Women. The other, also last year, was by … Read More

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