The Dismal Science

Doing less good than we could – carbon edition

Eric Crampton Oct 09, 2018

New Zealand has an emissions trading scheme. It isn’t perfect. But for the sectors covered by the ETS, including transport, best policy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions is fairly simple: buy and retire credits.  The government simply cannot know whether the cheapest way of reducing CO2 emissions is by getting the least efficient cars off the road; having people switch … Read More

Five dollar prize

Eric Crampton Oct 03, 2018

I’ve been absolutely loving Tyler Mahan Coe’s podcast series on the history of country music and the country music business. Every story is fascinating. A lot of the stories aren’t good for the kids. But I played the one about the Louvin Brothers (nee Loudermilk) for the kids. I paused it after this bit too see if they could … Read More

Carbon emissions and the Taranaki ban

Eric Crampton Sep 28, 2018

MBIE’s advice on Labour’s ban on Taranaki oil and gas exploration suggested that global emissions could go up. Could that happen? It depends on what you think’s going on in the rest of the world. Suppose that the whole world were under a binding emissions cap under a global cap and trade regime. If New Zealand produced less natural … Read More

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As expected

Donal Curtin Sep 27, 2018

The NZME/Fairfax Court of Appeal judgement is out and contained few surprises. The Court had been widely anticipated to rebuff the appeal against the Commerce Commission’s refusal to authorise the proposed merger of NZME (the Herald, radio stations, and a herd of other North Island media businesses) and Fairfax (DomPost, Press, S-ST, herd of other media things nationwide). So … Read More

We take the plunge…

Donal Curtin Sep 26, 2018

…and in the interests of scientific inquiry our household has a go at changing electricity retailers. Time, in short, to stop being the competition equivalent of an unmarried marriage counsellor, and actually use the tools available to increase competition in electricity retailing. We haven’t been averse to switching in the past, but I’d got disillusioned by the first wave of … Read More

Confidence in the Vice Chancellor

Eric Crampton Sep 19, 2018

In a prior life, I was on Academic Board at the University of Canterbury as Economics Department representative. The meetings were usually tedious. Much of the point seemed to be to provide a forum for people to air their grievances so they could feel they were listened to, but without consequence. There’d usually be somebody who’d make a five-minute speech … Read More

Recycled rubbish

Michael Reddell Sep 15, 2018

That’s the title of my former colleague Ian Harrison’s response to the government’s consultative document on getting rid of (some types of) plastic bags.  The consultation itself closed yesterday, but nobody supposes the consultation itself was remotely serious –  the irrational ban is going to happen anyway.  Having dug fairly deeply into the material used to support/underpin the consultative … Read More

Not-so-sweet advice

Eric Crampton Sep 14, 2018

Imagine that you were the Chief Science Adviser for a Ministry. You need to produce a short briefing note to the new government for some issue in your Ministry’s remit. Your Ministry had, just a couple weeks earlier, released a comprehensive report on the topic that your Ministry had commissioned from a top economics consultancy. Your Ministry had had the … Read More

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Regulation done right

Donal Curtin Sep 06, 2018

From overseas I’ve caught up with the news that the Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale has decided not to deregulate the market for national mobile roaming. The current regime (summarising a bit) is that the incumbent mobile network operators (Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees) have to provide wholesale network access to any serious new entrants. That way the new entrant is … Read More