The Dismal Science

Govt requests NGO client data – Why do they need this?

Eric Crampton Mar 04, 2017

I’m a big fan of letting NGOs benchmark their effectiveness using government data. But I don’t quite get why the government needs NGOs to collect some of this information on their behalf. Here goes. The government holds a huge amount of linked administrative data on all of us in the Integrated Data Infrastructure. All kinds of stuff can be linked … Read More

Picking zones and picking winners

Eric Crampton Feb 22, 2017

The push for more localist approaches to policy problems in New Zealand continues to gather steam. Earlier this month, the McGuinness Institute argued for what they’re calling Demarcation Zones for policy trials. Their formulation differs a bit from what we at the Initiative proposed in 2015, but the core idea is similar: let local communities take on additional … Read More

Are experts really being ignored?

Michael Reddell Feb 20, 2017

A few months ago, I wrote a post on the role of “experts”, responding to a British journalist and author’s lament for the apparent willlingness of voters/societies to downplay, or even dismiss, the role of experts when it comes to making significant public policy decisions. In his column in yesterday’s Sunday Star-Times, local economist Shamubeel Eaqub returns to … Read More

How old is behavioural economics?

Paul Walker Feb 01, 2017

I came across an interesting paper the other day that suggests behavioural economics is older than most people think. The paper “The Relations of Recent Psychological Developments to Economic Theory” by Z. Clark Dickinson in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 33, No. 3: 377-421 dates from May 1919! The summary of the paper reads, The purely objective factors … Read More

Citizen Thiel and ‘seasteading’

Eric Crampton Jan 27, 2017

A new year brings a new New Zealand media and Twitter zeitgeist, thanks to the revelation that US tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel is a New Zealand citizen. Tired: Low-skilled immigrants from China and the Pacific are ruining our economy. They’re hurting New Zealand’s productivity stats, they’re making New Zealand a low-wage economy, and they’re stealing all the houses. We need … Read More