The Dismal Science

The tech sector… and ongoing economic underperformance

Michael Reddell Oct 19, 2017

The 13th annual TIN (“Technology Investment Network”) report was released a couple of days ago.  I’ve largely managed to ignore the previous twelve –  breathless hype and all –  but for some reason I got interested yesterday, and started digging around in the material that was accessible to the public (despite lots of taxpayer subsidies the full report is … Read More

‘Junk’ science: Children and advertising study

Eric Crampton Oct 12, 2017

It is difficult to see what good purpose was served by this study. The Otago people (in conjunction with Auckland’s public health group) put cameras on kids that would take snapshots every six seconds. Then they poured through the footage to see how often the cameras, and presumably the kids, saw things that Otago people have long wanted to have … Read More

1

Every Noise at Once: Big data beats

Eric Crampton Oct 05, 2017

This site Every Noise at Once is amazing. Big data identification of all the musical genres and where they sit relative to each other. Here’s the project description: This is an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 1536 genres by Spotify. The calibration is fuzzy, but in … Read More

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