Arthur Robson awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

arthurrobsonArthur Robson holds the Canada Research Chair in Economic Theory and Evolution at the University of Simon Fraser.  He has made an extraordinary contribution to economic theory, particularly microeconomic theory in the context of change brought about by competitive evolutionary pressures. His scholarship has been prodigious and has shaped the direction of enquiry by economists and, to some degree, certain biological science.

Professor Arthur Robson gained a BSc(Hons) First Class in Pure and Applied Mathematics from Victoria University of Wellington in 1968; when he won the Robert Stout award for the best degree. In 1969 he entered the Pure Mathematics PhD programme at MIT, but after two years of course work switched to a PhD in economics that he completed at MIT in 1974. His thesis was on the contemporary topic “Congestion, Pollution and Urban Structure”. His research publications – of which there are more than 60 in the upper echelon of economics journals – reveal an early interest in inter-temporal strategies and consequent effects incorporating uncertainty. By the 1990s Arthur’s publications show his strong interest in evolutionary processes and from that time a large number of publications that apply the logic of mathematical economics to the evolution of economic systems and their primitives – such as preferences. They include the effect of selection among agents that face different sorts of uncertainty. As an aside, some recall the paper – “Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk,” Econometrica 60 (1992), 837-857, presented at Victoria – that held the result that purchase of lottery tickets can be rational if the prize is big enough.

Arthur has brought a unique insight to evolutionary game theory. We discuss two of his contributions here, selected based on being both important and easy to explain. Perhaps it is because so many of us are economists, but we game theorists do seem to have an underlying belief that a decentralized optimizing process like evolution should lead to efficient outcomes much of the time. Be that as it may, most evolutionary models do not lead to efficiency. Arthur is responsible for two of the most important papers showing how evolution can lead to efficiency. One of these is “Efficiency in Evolutionary Games: Darwin, Nash and the Secret Hand-shake,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 144 (1990), 379-396. In this paper, Arthur allows for a mutation that does two things. It leads the recipient to show a visible ‘signal’ (the secret hand-shake) that this mutation has occurred. It also leads the recipient of the mutation to make a cooperative choice when interacting with another individual who also shows this signal. In this manner, the mutants are able to benefit from cooperation when facing each other, while still being able to make an optimal choice when faced with non-mutants. Mutants with ‘secret hand-shakes’ quickly take over a population when the interactions within that population are such that cooperative behavior does not leave an agent exposed to exploitation.

Arthur tackles the fundamental mystery of human intelligence in “The Evolution of Rationality and the Red Queen,” Journal of Economic Theory 111 (2003), 1-22. Our high intelligence is clearly useful in the complex societies in which we dwell. On the other hand, our high intelligence is necessary for the formation of our complex societies. It has been argued that our exceptionally high intelligence is unnecessary for dealing with the external environment that existed prior to the formation of our societies. Many who have made this argument suggest that our societies and intelligence evolved together. However, such arguments ignore the different time scales required for evolution and the development of a society. Arthur shows how competition between humans can lead to an arms race in which we need ever greater and greater intelligence in order to succeed against other humans.  A nice feature of this approach is that as humans get smarter, the evolutionary pressure for intelligence increases. On the other hand, if intelligence occurred because of the external environment, then evolutionary pressure on intelligence would decrease the smarter humans became.

Arthur’s outstanding research achievements and scholarship are reflected in his post-PhD long-term and short-term appointments.  He started his post-PhD academic career at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in 1975, moving to Simon Fraser University in 2003.  He overlapped with John McMillan  – NZAE Distinguished Fellow 2005 – at UWO during a very academically lively period for that economics department. Arthur has had myriad short term academic engagements in prominent institutions in North America, Europe the UK, as well as the Middle East and Australia and New Zealand.   He has received visiting Fellowships and is a Fellow of the Econometric Society among others. Arthur has been in international demand for his research per se, but also for his seminars and organisation of conference sessions and workshops on evolutionary economics.

Arthur has held continued interest in New Zealand and visited this country from time to time, including in his role of Adjunct Professor at Victoria University for 2005-2008. He has outstanding credentials for the award of Distinguished  Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

Lewis Evans and Jack Robles

Call for papers Special issue on Advances in Competition Policy and Regulation

The Applied and Theoretical Economics (ATE) Research Network (http://ate.massey.ac.nz) is calling for papers for a Special Issue on Advances in Competition Policy and Regulation. Our goal is to shed light on pressing issues in this field that are of concern to academic economists, consultants/practitioners and government policy makers. Please note that a specific New Zealand context is not a criterion for paper acceptance. Areas of interest for this issue include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
-­ Energy Economics
-­ Innovation Theory and Policy
-­ Mergers and Partnerships
-­ Competition in Vertical Chains
-­ Network Economics
-­ Empirical Industrial Economics

Deadline for submission: 1 March 2016.

Ranking: Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) Journal Quality List -­ B ranking.

Submission: please use the online portal at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rnzp. Please indicate that your paper is meant for the Special Issue on the ‘Advances in Competition Policy and Regulation’ during the submission process. Selection of papers for the Special Issue will follow peer review.

Guest Editors: 
Simona Fabrizi (email: s.fabrizi@massey.ac.nz)
Steffen Lippert (email: s.lippert@auckland.ac.nz)
John Panzar (email: j.panzar@auckland.ac.nz)

Availability: New Zealand Economic Papers is a fully peer-reviewed scholarly journal published by leading international publishers Taylor & Francis (under the Routledge imprint) on behalf of the New Zealand Association of Economists. The journal is indexed in leading international databases including EconLit, ABI/Inform and EBSCO.

2015 conference timetable available

The 56th Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association of Economists will be held at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington on July 1-3.

The programme for the approaching conference is now available at www.nzaeconference.co.nz/programme/timetable.cfm.

Registration can be completed through the conference website at www.nzaeconference.co.nz.

Any queries regarding the 2015 conference email Gail Pacheco gail.pacheco@aut.ac.nz or Mary Hedges m.hedges@auckland.ac.nz both are co-chairing this year’s conference.

Call for papers Special issue for the 50th Anniversary of NZEP

New Zealand Economic Papers will publish its 50th volume in 2016. This special edition of New Zealand Economic Papers will focus on important topics covering the past 50 years of the New Zealand economy and the study of economics in New Zealand. Papers on New Zealand economic history, the history of economic thought in New Zealand and long-term developments in the New Zealand economy will be particularly welcomed.

Please note that papers not specifically relating to New Zealand will be considered for acceptance if they cover broader topics relevant to economic history and the history of economic thought that may indirectly affect New Zealand.

New Zealand Economic Papers is a fully peer-reviewed scholarly journal (rated ‘B’ in the ABDC list) published by leading international publishers Taylor & Francis (under the Routledge imprint) on behalf of the New Zealand Association of Economists. The journal is indexed in leading international databases including EconLit, ABI/Inform and EBSCO.

Selection of papers for the special issue will follow peer review. Submissions should be made online. Please indicate that your paper is meant for the special issue for the 50th anniversary of NZEP during the submission process.

Submission deadline: 31st December 2015

Submission: To submit to New Zealand Economic Papers, go to: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rnzp

Editorial Team: The Editor-in-Chief is Associate Professor Gail Pacheco (Auckland University of Technology) and the Co-Editor is Professor Arthur Grimes (Motu Research and University of Auckland). Gail and Arthur are supported by several Associate Editors and an Editorial Board drawn from New Zealand and international institutions (list).

Call for expressions of interest: Editor, Asymmetric Information.

The New Zealand Association of Economists is looking for someone to take over as the editor of its in-house magazine, Asymmetric Information, for a four-year term starting in July 2015. The incoming editor would take over from Professor John Creedy who is stepping down after four years in the role. He or she will work with Professor Creedy in issuing the August 2015 issue (which is largely complete) and then take over full responsibility for the three issues per year after that. This is a non-remunerated role. The editor is an ex officio member of the council of the New Zealand Association of Economists. Previous issues of Asymmetric Information can be viewed here.

Please send any expression of interest to the New Zealand Association of Economists at economists@nzae.org.nz.

Early bird registration until 14 May 2015

The 56th Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association of Economists will be held at the Westpac Stadium, Wellington on July 1-3.

The programme for the approaching conference is now available at www.nzaeconference.co.nz/programme/timetable.cfm.

Please take advantage of the early bird registration rate, which is offered until May 14th, accessed along with other conference details at www.nzaeconference.co.nz.

Any queries regarding the 2015 conference email Gail Pacheco gail.pacheco@aut.ac.nz or Mary Hedges m.hedges@auckland.ac.nz both are co-chairing this year’s conference.

April 2015 AI (#52) includes perspective on budget surplus

Asymmetric Information Issue 52 April 2015

Contents:

  • Editorial
  • An Interview with Kerrin Vautier (by Mary Hughes)
  • The ‘Five Minute Interview’ (with Adam Jaffe)
  • From the 2B RED File (by Grant Scobie)
  • Advert for NZ-UK Link Foundation
  • ‘Frames’ (by Stuart Birks)

  • Blogwatch (by Paul Walker)

  • Fine Lines (by Arthur Grimes)

  • The budget surplus (by Norman Gemmell)

  • The price of disaster risk (by Levente Timar, Arthur

    Grimes and Richard Fabling, Motu)

  • Measuring wealth (by Ann Ball, StatsNZ)

  • Report from GEN

  • Report from Chair in Public Finance (VUW)

  • Research in Progress (Massey)

Applications for Senior Economist, Auckland Council close 13-Mar-2015

Senior Economist

  • Exciting Opportunity
  • Permanent role
  • Centrally based

This is a great and exciting opportunity for an experienced Senior Economist to permanently join the Auckland Council team this year.

The successful candidate will be responsible for undertaking economic research and analysis of the Auckland region and relevant markets. Specifically, the Senior Economist will provide robust economic research, advice and analysis to key projects linked to the implementation of the Council’s strategies and policies to ensure that they are based on sound principles and practice.

Accountabilities

Your role will be to support the Chief Economist Unit (CEU) to provide leadership on economic issues for Auckland Council, using sound economic analysis. Critical to this is supporting the Chief Economist to:

  • Provide economic advice to the executive team, mayor and elected representatives
  • Ensure the public is informed of economics and trade-offs of important issues
  • Assist with lifting the capability of Council staff in the use of economic appraisal, and by extension, quality regulatory, policy, and business case development
  • Collaborate with Council Controlled Organisations, government agencies/departments, and business community
  • Undertake CEU-led appraisals for critical Auckland issues.

Your success in the role will help build the reputation of the Chief Economist Unit as one of technical and applied expertise, especially in the field of urban economics and appraisal. You will do this by using your highly developed people skills to work with a variety of stakeholders across Council and beyond.

Who you are

You will be an experienced Economist with 5 – 7 years of proven economic advisory experience, including the development of business cases and regulatory impact analysis. You will be experienced in economic appraisal, cost benefit analysis and public policy analysis. Experience in transport, urban, and/or infrastructure economics would be useful. A post-graduate degree in economics is essential. You will work closely with the existing members of the team in order to contribute to the development of current best practice on research and analysis and to provide high quality advice to decision makers. You will need to have excellent relationship management skills as you will deal with a wide range of internal and external contacts, many of which may not be experienced with economics. Your demonstrated leadership skills to coach and mentor junior employees will be vital for this role. Your consultative style and excellent written and oral communication skills will see you be successful in this career opportunity.

What we will offer you

In return, you will join a growing team and take on a unique role at Auckland council and make your mark on some bleeding edge economics work. You will join a team that is at forefront of positively contributing to Auckland’s economic challenges. You will receive a competitive salary and have the opportunity to work and grow your career networks. If this is your next Economist role, we want to hear from you.

For a confidential conversation, please contact Leah Abrams, Senior Talent Sourcing Specialist via email leah.abrams@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or alternatively apply with your cover letter and CV.

Applications for this role on Friday, 13th March 2015 at 10:30pm.

For more information on Auckland Council, and to apply for this job, please go to our job site
www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/careers and enter the job code
67103NAE

2015 NZEP Issue 1 offers some insights into dairy farm profitability, among other things

The contents of New Zealand Economic Papers, Volume 49, Issue 1, 2015 (available online or by subscription):

  • An analysis of benefit flows in New Zealand using a social accounting framework by Omar Aziz, Nick Carroll & John Creedy
  • Recognising and building on freshman students’ prior knowledge of economics by Michael P. Cameron & Steven Lim
  • Current trends in economics enrolments at secondary and tertiary level by Stephen Agnew
  • Improving the profitability of Waikato dairy farms: Insights from a whole-farm optimisation model by Graeme J. Doole
  • Demographic transition and the real exchange rate in Australia: An empirical investigation by Kamrul Hassan, Ruhul Salim & Harry Bloch
  • Exchange-rate volatility and commodity trade between the USA and Indonesia by Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee, Hanafiah Harvey & Scott W. Hegerty

2014 NZEP Issue 2 a Special Issue on USM-AUT International Conference on Sustainable Economic Development: Policies and Strategies

The contents of New Zealand Economic Papers, Volume 48, Issue 3, 2014 (available online or by subscription):

  • USM-AUT International Conference on Sustainable Economic Development: Policies and Strategies An introduction to the special issue by Saten Kumar, Rahul Sen & Sougata Poddar
  • Innovative capabilities among SMEs in Malaysian manufacturing: An analysis using firm-level data by Seyed Mehrshad Parvin Hosseini
  • An analysis of the millennium development goal 1: The case of Bangladesh by Mohammad Abdul Hannan Pradhan, Jamalludin Sulaiman & Saidatulakmal Mohd
  • Income convergence dynamics in ASEAN and SAARC blocs by Sakiru Adebola Solarin, Elsadig Musa Ahmed & Jauhari Dahalan
  • Revisiting the institutions–growth nexus in developing countries: The new evidence by Stephen G. Hall & Mahyudin Ahmad
  • Intellectual capital performance and its long-run behavior: The US banking industry case by Sampath Kehelwalatenna & Gamini Premaratne
  • Citation for the award of Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists
  • Editor-in-Chief signing off by Mark Holmes

November 2014 AI (#51) includes contributions by Statistics New Zealand

Asymmetric Information Issue 51 Nov 2014

Issue No. 51 November 2014 contents:

  • Editorial
  • An Interview with Caroline Saunders (by Peter Tait)
  • The ‘Five Minute Interview’ (with Gail Pacheco)
  • From the 2B RED File (by Grant Scobie)
  • ‘Frames’ (by Stuart Birks)
  • Blogwatch (by Paul Walker)
  • Fine Lines (by Leo Krippner)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from consumption in New Zealand (by Corey Allan, Motu)
  • NZEP call for papers
  • National Accounts and Balance of Payments Adopt New International Standards (by Jeff Cope, StatsNZ)
  • Using ‘big data’ to measure prices changes in New Zealand (by Francis Krsinich, StatsNZ)
  • Report from GEN
  • Research in Progress (Canterbury)

August 2014 AI (#50) includes research on growth of NZ towns

Asymmetric Information Issue 50 August 2014

Issue No. 50 August 2014 contents:

  • Editorial
  • An Interview with Bob Buckle (by Norman Gemmell)
  • Citations for new Life Members
  • NZAE Conference 2014
  • From the 2B RED File (by Grant Scobie)
  • ‘Frames’ (by Stuart Birks)
  • Blogwatch (by Paul Walker)
  • Fine Lines (by John Creedy)
  • The Bergstrom Prize Call
  • The Growth of New Zealand Towns (by Anna Robinson)
  • Report from GEN
  • Research in Progress (NZIER)

2014 NZEP Issue 2 a Special Issue on Population Ageing and Long-Run Fiscal Sustainability in New Zealand

The contents of New Zealand Economic Papers, Volume 48, Issue 2, 2014 (available online or by subscription):

  • Population ageing and long-run fiscal sustainability in New Zealand by Robert A. Buckle & John Creedy
  • The requirements for fiscal sustainability in New Zealand by Robert A. Buckle & Amy A. Cruickshank
  • New Zealand’s demographics and population ageing by Geoff Bascand & Kim Dunstan
  • Treasury’s 2013 long-term fiscal statement: Assumptions and projections by Matthew Bell & Paul Rodway
  • Population ageing and productivity: A survey with implications for New Zealand by Ross Guest
  • Population ageing and the growth of income and consumption tax revenue by Christopher Ball & John Creedy
  • Can fiscal drag pay for the public spending effects of population ageing in New Zealand? by John Creedy & Norman Gemmell
  • Social expenditure in New Zealand: Stochastic projections by John Creedy & Kathleen Makale
  • Modelling retirement income in New Zealand by Christopher Ball
  • The growth, equity, and risk implications of different retirement income policies by Andrew Coleman
  • Tax policy with uncertain future costs: Some simple models by Christopher Ball & John Creedy

April 2014 AI (#49) includes four banking lectures by Grimes

Asymmetric Information Issue 49 2014

Issue No. 49 April 2014 contents:

  • Editorial
  • An Interview with Grant Scobie (by Brian Silverstone) – repeat three times ‘Economics is all about incentives; the rest is commentary’.
  • The Five Minute Interview (Sholeh Maani)
  • From the 2B RED File (by Grant Scobie)
  • ‘Frames’ (by Stuart Birks)
  • Blogwatch (by Paul Walker)
  • Fine Lines (by Stephen Knowles)
  • Four Lectures on Banking (by Arthur Grimes)
  • The Integrated Data Infrastructure (Bex Sullivan and Lynsey Hayes)
  • Research in Progress (Auckland University of Technology)