The Dismal Science

Electoral lists – a simple recommendation

Eric Crampton Apr 30, 2018

The Electoral Commission is worried that its published electoral lists – the list of each voter and that voter’s address – could be misused. From Bryce Edwards’ summary: Currently there is almost a “free for all” in the use of printed electoral roll data. All sorts of companies, such as debt collectors and marketers make use of the printed … Read More

World War One and the New Zealand economy

Michael Reddell Apr 25, 2018

Earlier this week, in the lead up to ANZAC Day today, The Treasury drew attention to an interesting conference paper written a few years ago by Brian Easton on “The impact of the Great War on the New Zealand economy”.   From the opposite end of the political spectrum, Eric Crampton described it as “really great”.  I’m not … Read More

Now you see it

Donal Curtin Apr 25, 2018

You want to buy a widget. Bugsy’s has the model you want, it’s $6. Malone’s also sells it, for $5. You may not know Malone’s got it cheaper, so you end up paying a dollar too much at Bugsy’s. But suppose Bugsy’s and Malone’s are required by the Prevent-A-Widget-Ripoff Authority to post their prices online?  With a moment’s search you … Read More

Opinion: Precious arable land

Eric Crampton Apr 23, 2018

I just don’t get the fixation with making sure that nobody builds a house on agricultural land. The government plans to make it harder for councils to approve new homes and lifestyle blocks on productive land near urban areas. A report out today, called Our Land 2018, shows New Zealand’s urban sprawl is eating up some of the … Read More

Opinion: Economic growth within Environmental limits

Michael Reddell Apr 20, 2018

That was the title of a speech David Parker gave a couple of weeks ago.  Parker is, as you will recall, a man wearing many hats: Minister for the Environment, Associate Minister of Finance, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Attorney-General.  Since he was speaking to a seminar organised by the Resource Management Law Association, this speech looked … Read More

Visiting economists opine on NZ

Michael Reddell Apr 19, 2018

Lots of people, even abroad, look at New Zealand’s economy.   For example, there are ratings agencies selling a commercial product to clients, and there are investment funds putting their own and clients’ money at risk.   And then there are the government agencies; notably the IMF and the OECD. Every year or so, a small team of IMF … Read More

Choice of baseline matters

Eric Crampton Apr 17, 2018

Looks like folks are back to arguing about whether there’s a J-curve in alcohol consumption. The J-curve plots out the relationship between all-cause mortality and drinking. Non-drinkers are at the left-hand upwards tip of the J, light-to-moderate drinkers are in the dip, then heavy drinkers are in the upwards tilt at the right hand side. And the ballpark numbers I … Read More

Population size and GDP per capita: US states

Michael Reddell Apr 16, 2018

There have been a few posts here (here, here, and here) in the last week or so around the issue of population size and GDP per capita –  not because my prior is that there is any such relationship but (a) because I think there isn’t, and it is worth occasionally illustrating that across countries, and (b) … Read More

Is Vaping Legal? Eric Crampton on the SmokeFree Environments Act

Eric Crampton Apr 16, 2018

The Fairfax papers have a good summary out today of what’s going on in vaping – as of a month ago. They write: When British public health experts first said vaping (using e-cigarettes) poses only a fraction of the health risk of tobacco smoking, the trend surged in popularity around the world, including in New Zealand. But it remains illegal … Read More

Small size simply isn’t the issue …

Michael Reddell Apr 12, 2018

Just yesterday I wrote, in response to a comment that My point simply was that there is no obvious correlation, in the cross section, between population size and GDP per capita (or productivity). I’m not aware of any serious observer arguing otherwise At the level of very simple correlations, I’d illustrated this lack of relationship –  whether for all … Read More