The Dismal Science

NZ Visas for Nobel winners?

Eric Crampton Nov 24, 2016

Sir Clive Granger won the Nobel Prize in Economics while a visitor at the University of Canterbury’s Economics Department. He loved visiting us. And we loved having him visit us. One of my favourite Sir Clive stories, which predated my joining the Department, was of a departmental seminar where he, as usual, sat quietly at the back of the room. Read More

Red Zone: Property rights are human rights

Eric Crampton Nov 07, 2016

New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission says that property rights need to be protected in the Bill of Rights. I couldn’t agree more enthusiastically. The report is about what the government did to people in Christchurch’s Red Zone. The land around the Avon River was a mess after the quakes. The government decided that the simplest thing … Read More

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Alcohol restrictions: Availability theory and inventories

Eric Crampton Nov 06, 2016

It never made sense to me that restricting bottle shop hours would have any particular effect on alcohol consumption. It’s an empirical question obviously, but surely people hold inventories against periods of lack of supply. The only time I was caught out was when I didn’t know that Virginia ended bottle sales at 10pm when I was a grad … Read More

Disaster recovery is local

Eric Crampton Nov 04, 2016

There are a lot of lessons from Hurricane Matthew that New Zealand might have found useful in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.  Vero de Rugy has a great summary of Virgil Storr’s work for the Mercatus Centre on hurricane recovery in New Orleans. Take a recent investigation by PBS’ “Frontline” and NPR into flood insurance and aid … Read More

Experts: harness them, don’t let them set the course

Michael Reddell Oct 25, 2016

There was interesting long article in The Guardian the other day by Sebastian Mallaby, the author of a new biography of Alan Greenspan, on “The cult of the expert – and how it collapsed”.  His focus is central banking, but his concerns range much wider. For Mallaby, the (alleged) “collapse” of this “cult” is something to lament. Of course, … Read More

Productivity growth: how have we been doing?

Michael Reddell Oct 18, 2016

A few weeks ago I ran the chart below chart, showing quarterly real GDP per hour worked for New Zealand for the last decade or so.  I used an average of production and expenditure GDP, and Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) hours worked data.  The rather dismal picture was of no productivity growth at all for the last few years. Read More

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Dangerous cheeses

Eric Crampton Oct 16, 2016

The NZ government continues its crusade against an elderly woman whose four cows produce the milk for her small-scale raw milk cheeses. My piece in this week’s Insights newsletter: Thomas Hobbes told us the State is necessary to protect us. The war of all against all that would ensue without a State to protect us from each other would … Read More

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