The New Zealand Association of Economists was founded in 1959 and has five constitutional objects:

  • To promote collaboration and discussion among professional economists in New Zealand;
  • To encourage research and to publish the results of that research and other relevant material;
  • To obtain and disseminate information on research projects in progress or anticipated;
  • To promote the profession of economics in New Zealand; and
  • To foster in all sections of the community interest in and understanding of New Zealand economic problems.

In pursuit of these objectives the Association each year publishes newsletters, organises conferences and publishes its professional journal New Zealand Economic Papers. The Association also sponsors several annual prizes, including the Distinguished Fellows Award and the Jan Whitwell Prize, awarded at the annual conference.

Because the Association’s constitution forbids it from making any statements on economic policy it is able to provide a neutral but effective forum for the analysis and debate of a wide range of economic issues. The conferences are a useful way of keeping up to date with the latest developments in economic thought. A feature in recent years has been the presence of distinguished overseas economists invited by the Association to speak on their area of expertise.

There are approximately 350 members of the Association. Membership is primarily open to those who have a degree in economics or commerce, and/or those who in the normal course of work use the tools of economic analysis as teachers, investigators or advisers on economic matters. The annual member subscription is NZ$120.00 (GST inclusive) for full membership; NZ$120.00 for overseas members; and NZ$60.00 (GST inclusive) for New Zealand graduate students (first year only). The Association’s journal, the New Zealand Economic Papers, and newsletter Asymmetric Information are distributed free to members.