John Riley awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

John Riley is an outstanding academic economist and his journey to this illustrious career started here in New Zealand.   He grew up in Christchurch and spent his early life in the Canterbury, Otago and Lake Hawea areas with frequent trips to Wellington on the overnight ferry.  Educationally he honed his mathematical skills at Christ’s College under the tutelage of Alan Ramsey.  He then went on to the University of Canterbury’s Mathematics Department where he completed a B.Sc. (Hons). As an undergraduate he competed for Canterbury in both swimming and basketball. He was also leader of the notorious (and long since banned) haka party in Capping week.

Unsure what to do next he was persuaded by Bert Brownlie to switch to economics (a part of the famous Knights move) and earned an M. Com in economics in 1969 (class of 1968).  While in the Economics Dept. at Canterbury the opportunities and challenges available in economics were reinforced by visitors such as Stiglitz, Debreu and Koopmans. From here John went on to complete his doctorate at MIT where his thesis advisors were Robert Solow and Peter Diamond .

In 1973 he joined the UCLA economics department. His most influential colleague at UCLA was his co-author Jack Hirshleifer (“Analytics of Uncertainty and Information” CUP 1992).  This book is still widely used as an entry level text in this field and a second edition (co-authored by Sushil Bikhchandani) is due to be released later this year. John is best known for his research on markets with asymmetric information. He was heavily involved in the early development of the theories of signalling and of auctions.  Had he followed advice from Mirrlees early in his work on signalling he would have never written his much cited Econometica paper “Informational Equilbrium”. However, it is a signal of the man, that he took this advice to stop working in this area as an inspiration to not only continue but to solve the problem – even if it took the rest of his life.  Fortunately it didn’t take that long!

In 1978 John began working with Jack Hirshleifer on the “war of attrition” and published two papers in the Journal of Theoretical Sociobiology. This led him to start comparing revenue in auction and other “winner-take-all” environments. Eventually the number of mechanisms for which there was revenue equivalence led him to the conclusion that there must be some unifying principle explaining these results.

His most  cited paper on auctions (with William Samuelson) includes the first proof of the celebrated “revenue equivalence theorem”.  He also collaborated extensively with Eric Maskin on auction theory.  John has recently completed a graduate textbook “Essential Microeconomics” (2012). He is currently Distinguished Professor of Economics and very recently completed a third term as Chair of the Economics Department at UCLA.

However these roles do little to capture the depth and diversity of John’s work.  He has more than fifty peer reviewed articles including multiple articles in all of the top journals – AER, JPE, QJE, JEL, Ecnometrica, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Economic Theory and Games and Economic Behaviour.  In fact, according to REPEC John is among the top 5% of authors internationally according to virtually every criteria that they report on such as:  Average Rank Score; Number of Distinct Works, Weighted by Simple Impact Factor; Number of Distinct Works, Weighted by Recursive Impact Factor … Number of Citations; Number of Citations, Weighted or Discounted by Citation Age, impact factor, number of authors and others. Remarkably his annual google scholar citations show no sign of decreasing. Indeed they reached a life-time high of 712 in 2012.

Although being a world leader in the area of auctions and mechanism design John has not lost sight of his kiwi roots.  He has continued to come back to New Zealand annually and to stay in touch with his mentors at the University of Canterbury.  He tells us his biggest return to NZ for his wonderful start is his daughter who has over 70 caps playing representative football for NZ.  However, the Association believes his contribution is much more direct than this and in recognition of both the quantity and quality of his own ground breaking work we honour him with this award of Distinguished Fellow.

Stephen Turnovsky awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Stephen TurnovskyStephen Turnovsky is an outstanding academic economist. His academic career spans over 40 years, with a distinguished publication record which has kept him in the very top echelon of the profession’s academic journal publishers over a particularly long time period.

Early foundations for Stephen’s academic career were laid with a BA in Mathematics and Economics and an MA with 1st class honours in Mathematics from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). These degrees were conferred in 1962 and 1963 respectively, and during that period he also held positions of part-time research assistant at NZIER and the Applied Mathematics Laboratory of DSIR, and as a Junior Lecturer in Mathematics at VUW. As a signal towards the now over 236 journal publications to come, he quickly had a joint publication in 1964 in the NZ Journal of Geology and Geophysics on the statistics of New Zealand earthquakes, and an econometric case-study of Disequilibrium in the NZ Automobile Market in the June 1966 issue of the Economic Record. The latter study was completed early in Stephen’s time at Harvard University.

Stephen’s PhD from Harvard was conferred in 1968, and led to positions at the Universities of Pennsylvania and Toronto. He was Professor of Economics at the ANU from 1972 to 1982, including as Chairman of the Department of Economics for 3 ½ years, and was then IBE Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois from 1982 to 1988. He has been Castor Professor of Economics at The University of Washington in Seattle since 1993, following his appointment in 1988 as Professor of Economics at that University. Since 2010, he has also been Adjunct Professor of Economics at VUW.

Stephen’s publications through to the early 1970s included three important contributions to the then emerging empirical evidence on price and wage expectations, published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Economica, and the Review of Economics and Statistics. However, the distinctive features of Stephen’s on-going research became the use of mathematical tools and economic concepts to model problems in the areas of economic growth and dynamics, including applications to optimal macroeconomic policies. Moreover, as befits his having lived and worked for lengthy periods in Australasia and Canada, a great deal of his modelling has been of (small) open economies. The diverseness of Stephen’s publications is reflected not only in the range of core macroeconomic areas addressed and quantitative tools utilised, but also through the number of coauthors with whom he has published – for example, from his September 2011 CVi, I counted an extraordinary number of 77 different journal co-authors and 8 book-related co-authors, for the period since 1969.

Of his 13 books solely or jointly authored or co-edited, there are academics throughout the world who can attest to finding his 1977 Macroeconomic Analysis and Stabilisation Policy, and his 1995 and 2000 editions of Methods of Macroeconomic Dynamics particularly valuable for their graduate macro courses. I’m not going to single out particular articles or journals from Stephen’s CV – suffice to say that by the late 1970s, he had cracked every top-ranked economics journal at least once, with many acceptances since then in these and the best of more recently established journals.

However, recognition for outstanding achievement does not always follow from publications alone, and in this respect it is important to detail the considerable wider recognition of Stephen’s professional achievements.

His Professional Honours include Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (elected 1976), Fellow of the Econometric Society (1981), President of the Society of Economic Dynamics and Control (1982-84), and President of the Society of Computational Economics (2004-06).

He has held visiting positions of distinction over many years, including at the University of California-Berkeley, Nuffield College (Oxford), Academia Sinica (Taipei), IAS Wuhan University, IAS Vienna, CESifo (University of Munich); and has been awarded Doctorat, Honorary Causa by the University of Aix-Marseille II (2005) and an Hon DLitt by Victoria University of Wellington (2009).

The unusual breadth and depth of Stephen’s Editorial Board activities, and hence his indirect influence on and contributions to developments in the macro-theoretic economics literature, can be illustrated by his having been variously Associate Editor, Editor and Advisory Editor of the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control continuously since 1978, Joint Editor of the Economic Record for the period 1973-77, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (1977-2010), the Journal of Public Economics (1982-87), the Journal of Public Economic Theory (from 2000), Macroeconomic Dynamics (from 2001), and the Journal of Human Capital (from 2006). He has been on the Editorial Advisory Board of New Zealand Economic Papers since 2007.

Finally, against the background of Stephen’s outstanding global academic achievements, let me record his most recent contributions to the economics profession in New Zealand: invited keynote speaker to the NZAE/ESAM08 50th Anniversary Symposium, honouring the tradition of A W H (Bill) Phillips; invited keynote speaker to the 1st and 2nd NZ Macroeconomic Dynamics Workshops (April 2011, April 2012), and to the Southern Workshop in Macro (SWIM, April 2012). Recently, he also endowed the Stephen Turnovsky Visiting Fellowships, to be held in the School of Economics and
Finance at VUW.

It gives me great pleasure to provide this citation for sustained and outstanding contributions to the development of economics, to Castor Professor Stephen Turnovsky, Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

Viv Hall

Leslie Young awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Leslie Young is Wei Lun Professor of Finance and Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Business at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is an outstanding economist by any yardstick. Leslie’s interests span finance, international trade political economy and, the interaction among culture, political economy and economic performance. His standing is indicated by his holding the prestigious V.F Neuhaus Professorship in Finance and the University of Texas at Austin (UTA) where he was also Professor of Economics between 1985 and 1992, in which year he took up the position of Professor of Finance and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In this position he has been the Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Institute of Business since 1993 in which capacity he has enlarged the extent and standing of its programs across a range of countries. Leslie has held Visiting Professorships at universities that include University of California at Berkeley and MIT. He is the longest serving member of the Editorial Board of the American Economic Review having completed four consectutive terms.

From the outset, Leslie’s outstanding facility with mathematics never got in the way of insightful analysis of economic issues expressed in a lively interesting manner. He has a stable of papers on the implications of uncertainty for aspects of international trade and finance: they appear in such journals as the Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of International Trade and Review of Economic Studies. Further work in trade and uncertainty produced papers evaluating the welfare effects of trade restrictions of various sorts. In the 1980s and early 1990s Leslie produced papers on the political economy of trade policy, particularly with Stephen Magee, a colleague at UTA, and William Brock. The most well-known work was their highly commended book Black hole Tariffs and Endogenous Redistribution Theory, Cambridge University Press, 1990, which set out an “interest group” general equilibrium with respect to the determination of trade policy. Leslie’s interest in the interaction between economic and legal processes are reflected in two papers with James Andersen1 where they examine the optimal enforcement of contracts when contracts must be incomplete and enforcement differs. His interest in governance is illustrated by papers concerning the separation of ownership and control in listed corporations in different cultures.2 The interaction among law, culture and economic behaviour is suggested to be critically important by Leslie’s foregoing works and it has has been an ongoing interest of his. Leslie argues that differences across countries in these characteristics are reflected in different langauge and other institutional rules that affect economic and financial performance, including crises. His comparison of the economies of India and China3, and Asia and Western4 economies illustrate his position.

Leslie was born in Guangzbou and came to New Zealand at the age of two. His family were market gardeners in Levin, where he attended Horowhenua College. He came to Victoria University at 16 as a Junior Scholar. In his first two years, he completed his B.Sc. but this progress was too rapid for him to graduate under University statutes. In his third year, he completed a Bsc. with First Class Honours in mathematics, plus a paper in Mathematical Logic with the Philosophy Department. He was awarded a Senior Scholarship, an Alexander Crawfod Scholarship, a NZ Sugar Company Scholarship, and a Postgraduate Scholarship and Commonwealth Scholarship. While waiting to go to Oxford, he completed an M.Sc. with distinction in mathematics by August 1969. He later learnt from his Supervisor, Wilf Malcolm (by then VC of Waikato) that a seminar that he had given from his thesis was the origin of the Algebra/Logic seminar that the Victoria University of Wellington Mathematics Department ran in the 70’s and 80s. Shortly after his arrival in Oxford, Dr. Malcolm wrote to say that the external examiner (Dr. R. A. Bull of Canterbury) had recommended his M. Sc. thesis for a Ph.D. However, during the first year at Oxford Leslie completed a different doctoral thesis (just before his 21st birthday) that was subsequently awarded a Senior Mathematics Prize by Oxford University. While waiting to complete his residence requirements for his D.Phil, he was introduced to Professor James Mirrlees (Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1996), who, along with Nicholas Stern (at that time holding an academic postion at Oxford) induced Leslie to write essays. After a year of this activity, he escaped by taking up a Junior Research Fellowship in Economics at Lincoln College, Oxford, thence to the University of Canterbury’s economics department in 1975. His next appointment was at UTA.

Leslie modestly attributes a good deal of his success to the tolerant, friendly, interested people-environment in which he was brought up in New Zealand. His stimulating, engaging presentations have been a high-impact feature of Leslie’s visits to Wellington over the past 15 years.

Papers referred to

1. Andersen, James E. and Leslie Young, Trade Implies Law: The Power of the Weak, NBER Working Paper 7702, 2000, pp.30; and Andersen, James E. and Leslie Young, “Trade and Contract Enforcement”, Contributions to Economic Analysis & Policy (2006), Vol 5 (1), Article 30.

2. Faccio, M., Lang L. H. P. and Young, L., ‘Dividends and expropriation’, American Economic Review, Vol. 91, 2001, pp. 1–25; and Gadhoum, Yoser, Larry H.P. Lang and Leslie Young, “Who Controls US?”, European Financial Management, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2005, 339-363.

3. Young, Leslie, Economic Development in China and East Asia: Lessons for India, address, (http://www.slideserve.com/Albert_Lan/economic-development-in-china-east-asia-lessons-for-india-leslie-young-professor-of-finance-executive-director-asia) accessed May 30 2012.

4. Young, Leslie, ‘Comment on: “Why Are Saving Rates So High in China?”‘ chapter in NBER book, Capitalising China, Joseph Fan and Randall Morck eds., Chicago University Press, 2009.

Don Brash awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Donald T BrashThere can only be the barest handful of New Zealand economists who have had a career that is both as distinguished and varied as that of Don Brash. His career has spanned that of a research economist, an international bureaucrat, an orchardist, a corporate chief executive, a company director, the chair of important government task forces, a central banker, a Member of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition.

It is especially fitting that this award is being conferred in Christchurch. Don grew up here and received his schooling and graduated from the University of Canterbury. His father was a Presbyterian minister, who played a leading role in church governance. He served as General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and as moderator of the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. Don’s grandfather, TC Brash, had been one of the very first lay moderators of the Presbyterian Church. So with his ecclesiastical antecedents it would not have been surprising had Don chosen a career in the church, so depriving us of his contributions as one of this country’s leading economists.

In fact it was a close call. Undoubtedly under some influence from his father, Don did consider a calling to the church. However he told his father (no doubt most respectfully) that God seemed to have an ample supply of ministers, but lacked Christian economists. And furthermore the thought of having to compose two sermons each Sunday did not appeal. One can only speculate whether Don subsequently called on divine inspiration when composing his Monetary Policy Statements every 6 weeks during his long term as Governor of the Reserve Bank.

Don performed well academically throughout his schooling. We can gain insight into his early appreciation of economics from the story of how he withdrew from a school essay contest, after learning that the prize was not 100 pounds as he had thought, but merely the interest on 100 pounds. This keen understanding of the role of incentives was to characterise many of his later approaches to economic policy.

An undergraduate arts degree in history and economics followed with an A in every paper. At the same time he was a leader in the Student Christian Movement, and keenly concerned for the welfare of others, whether in New Zealand or globally. But his left wing leanings and inclinations to the Labour Party were often the source of internal conflicts for the young undergraduate. In the words of Alan Blinder, he was seeking to combine a hard head with a soft heart.

Don arrived at the Reserve Bank in November 1961 and by March 1962 had completed his thesis for an MA in Economics. His supervisor at Canterbury was Wolfgang Rosenberg whose Marxist views had influenced Don’s early thinking about economic issues. The thesis was awarded first class honours. What is notable is the view he espoused in that thesis: that New Zealand’s reliance on foreign capital was a prescription for being exploited by foreign corporations.

After a short subsequent spell on the staff of the Reserve Bank, Don set off for the ANU to do a PhD thesis further pursuing the question of whether foreign investment was really desirable. The outcome was a reversal of his earlier views and a study which underscored the benefits to Australia. Notable is the fact that this was published by Harvard.

It was at this point that Don launched into what was to become an outstanding career as an economist. His appointment to the elite Young Professionals Programme of the World Bank was another early indication of the qualities that others were quickly recognizing.

In the ensuing years, Don gained an enormous amount of experience and recognition at very high levels, including working closely with Lester Pearson on the Commission on International Development and in Robert McNamara’s staff department at the World Bank. At this point all indications were that he seemed set for a meteoric career in international development. But a young family and tempting offers from home drew him back to New Zealand and the banking sector.

His interest in politics was always latent, and in 1980 and 1981 he unsuccessfully contested the East Coast Bays electorate, ironically perhaps as a National candidate and even more ironically defeated by Social Credit.

His subsequent career took him through senior leadership roles in the corporate, export and banking sectors. While in every case Don distinguished himself, perhaps more notable was that these years were punctuated with a large number of committee appointments both under the Labour and National administrations. It was here that Don maintained a close interest in and detailed knowledge of public policy issues, across a wide spectrum of economic policy.

This included taxation in the rural sector, accrual taxation, taxation of life insurance, inflation accounting and the design of the GST. He still regards his role as chairman of the committee which designed New Zealand’s GST as one of his most important contributions to public policy in this country. His roles also extended to chairmanship of the Economic Monitoring Group, which provided independent advice to the government, and as a member of the Planning Council.

But from his career in economics, it is surely the 14 years as Governor of the Reserve Bank that must stand out as a major highlight. On his watch we saw the RBNZ pioneer a radically new approach to independence, become the first central bank in the world to formally adopt inflation targeting, and set up a new form of contractual relationship with government. But above all we saw the inflation rate come down and recall Don constantly contributing to the economic policy debate and reminding us of the pernicious and regressive effects of high inflation.

From the perspective of the Association, it is Don’s contribution to economic policy that alone establishes his claim for this award. This contribution is not only confined to the obvious field of monetary policy. It extends far more widely. When taken in conjunction with his contribution to tax policy, a freer trade policy, exchange rate policy and banking regulation, Don is surely a very worthy nominee for recognition by the Association as a Distinguished Fellow.

Grant M Scobie

Peter Lloyd awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Peter LloydWhen Professor Peter Lloyd was awarded his Distinguished Fellow’s award from the Australian Economic Society, the citation was co-authored by Max Corden (Corden and Jayasuriya (2006)). In trade research terms that is akin to a northern hemisphere economist being honoured by Jagdish Bhagwati or Harry Johnson. This immediately raises the issue as to why it has taken so long for our Association to honour this favourite son? There is no truth to the rumour that Peter has been semi-ignored because Australia has claimed him – just like Phar Lap and Russell Crowe (at least Anna Paquin had the sense to be claimed by Canada!). The truth is that our Distinguished Fellows Award is very new.

Peter is one of the best economists New Zealand has produced and certainly one of the two best international trade economists – his Festschrift is being published in two volumes. His work encompasses the full palette of theorist, empiricist and policy advisor to governments and international organisations around the world (WTO, UNCTAD, OECD and the World Bank). Professor Lloyd has had an illustrious career in the mould of the famous J.B. Condliffe.

Peter did not begin work as a customs official unlike some other famous trade economists. However, perhaps not coincidentally, Professor Lloyd did begin professional life at Statistics New Zealand, just like that other famous NZ trade economist, Condliffe. Care with data has been a hallmark of both of them. Indeed, if I might digress for a moment – Statistics NZ has a golden opportunity here for a new recruitment campaign featuring them both.

Peter was born in Manaia and completed his undergraduate and Masters degrees at Victoria University, and his Ph.D at Duke. Peter returned to Victoria University and subsequently held positions at Michigan State University, the Australian National University and finally the University of Melbourne – where he continues to work as an Emeritus Professor.

Professor Lloyd first gained international recognition for his work (sometimes with Grubel) on inter-industry trade in the early 1970′s. This work is one of the clearest demonstrations of the “Lloyd approach”. He carefully noted in the data that an increasing amount of Australian international trade was being conducted in intermediate goods – traded internationally between firms in the same industry. Peter then developed theory to explain such behaviour and followed that up by building a CGE model of inter-industry trade (with Whalley).

Here, as in many other areas, his research target was policy advice – trying to make a difference to our understanding of the real world. As Corden and Jayasuriya recount, Peter was not in the game of theory for its own sake. The other characteristic that is important in Professor Lloyd’s work is his meticulous approach to the data. Peter has a detailed understanding of where the data came from and the institutional environment that generated it – accordingly, he has an excellent understanding of what the data (and subsequent models) can and cannot tell you.

International trade and trade policy have been a key focus for Professor Lloyd and he is well known in policy circles for his long involvement in trade (and related) policy advice in an Asia-Pacific context. That has included extensive work on Australian and New Zealand issues, ANZCERTA, the WTO, APEC and many other arrangements.

Professor Lloyd has made a number of other important contributions to trade theory over the last thirty years and they are well summarised in a number of references (Corden and Jayasuriya, his Festschrift volumes edited by Jayasuriya (2005a and b) and his own volume, Lloyd, 1999.

His work has not been confined to trade, however, and Peter’s research has ranged very widely from production economics to the history of economic thought. Peter is a truly modern economist in the mathematical tradition.

For his many contributions to economics in the international and New Zealand professional arenas and his contributions to policy advice, Professor Peter Lloyd is a most deserving recipient of the award of Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

References

Corden, W. Max and Sisira Jayasuriya (2006). “Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia, 2005: Peter Lloyd”. The Economic Record 82(256) 77-80.

Jayasuiya, Sisira (2005a). Trade Theory, Analytical Models and Development. Essays in honour of Professor Peter Lloyd. Volume 1. UK: Edward Elgar.

Jayasuiya, Sisira (2005b). Trade Policy Reforms and Development. Essays in honour of Professor Peter Lloyd. Volume 2. UK: Edward Elgar.

Lloyd, Peter (1999). International Trade Opening and the Formation of the Global Economy. Economists of the Twentieth Century Series. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Ralph Lattimore

John Gould awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

John Gould brought a new professionalism to the study and promotion of economic history in New Zealand. The New Zealand university economics curriculum had long had a component of economic history, and New Zealand economists in the first half of the twentieth century made serious and significant studies of history. John Gould, however, introduced a much stronger base of integration with international thinking in economic history itself. He did so without, as happened in some

European centres of economic history, losing the advantages of the earlier homespun linking of economic history with economics as a whole. While consistently denying that he is an economist, he used economic thinking to advance knowledge, taught economists the value of understanding the historical context in which they worked, and himself added to knowledge of important economic processes in both New Zealand and internationally.

John’s education in London and Bristol was extended by war service. His final examinations extended in the English manner to material studied several years earlier and separated by demanding military duties. That nevertheless provoked nothing more than a wry smile as he listened and responded with his characteristic deliberation and fairness to student complaints about the extension of examinations over a few weeks. He even retained his equanimity as he listened to complaints about two examination papers being scheduled on one day, having himself sat 10 papers in 5 days within an 8 day period.

John’s first employment was in what was then called “adult education”. He brought to it a social passion which has never been extinguished and which sometimes surprised colleagues who thought that his courteous manner and apparent caution were indicators of political conservativism. He also brought to it a scholarly insistence on enquiry and respect for empirical observation. Among his earliest publications was a careful study of exactly who was most likely to participate in university opportunities for mature students.

It was a post in Adult Education at the University of Auckland which brought John to New Zealand. However, he maintained his research in economic history. His first studies were in Tudor and Stuart economic history, involving many hours in libraries and archives, and focusing on locating and interpreting evidence which enabled one to discriminate among competing hypotheses about economies very different from modern ones. But there were links to modern economic thinking too – one of John’s early discoveries was that Thomas Mun’s England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade, an important precursor of the thought that came to dominate modern economics as the theory of comparative advantage, was written about 40 years earlier than commonly thought and owed a great deal to commercial experience in England in the 1620s. Most of the big discoveries in economics have come from studying the world with economic knowledge rather than from seeking to resolve puzzles in the literature. More generally, the institutional thinking which so strongly influenced economic theory from the 1970s onwards came as no surprise to those who were introduced by John to the economic history of Tudor and Stuart England. His work in the area culminated in his The Great Debasement (1970) which would still be enormously valuable to many who write about seignorage and inflation taxes. His insistence on clarifying different questions is exemplary.

So was the way he kept abreast of his discipline. While inclined to call himself a “steam-age” economic historian, his response to new applications of economic and statistical techniques was to assimilate their results into knowledge, recognising their merits and exploring their limitations. His “comment” on an early piece of econometric history, in which he relied on logic, arithmetic and respect for historical sources, was unanswerable. It was also positive in advancing knowledge, not destructive of innovatory techniques.

His continued research and growing reputation in economic history led to John’s transition in 1961 to a Senior Lectureship in Economics at Victoria University of Wellington. In 1963, when a second chair of Economics was established, he was appointed as New Zealand’s first Professor of Economic History. For over twenty years, he developed courses in economic history which served the subject itself and also kept it alive for economists, historians and others with an intelligent interest in human affairs. He also played significant administrative roles, eventually being a member of the University Grants Committee and then writing a history of its first 25 years, which gained added significance when those proved to be almost the same as the UGC’s last 25 years.

John’s scholarly interests turned towards New Zealand economic history and the international experience of economic growth. His acquaintance with the leading edge of scholarship in economic history, especially his expertise in combining theoretical constructs with documentary sources, enabled him to make significant advances in our understanding of how New Zealand grew economically. So we gained new knowledge about how pasture formation related to capital formation in the nineteenth century, and we learned a new perspective on how the distribution of landholdings related to both market incentives and political campaigns. While the “bursting-up of the Great Estates” as the triumph of certain politicians lives on in romantic nostalgia, scholarly knowledge was changed forever by John’s work. His article in the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand remains one of the best vehicles for distinguishing romanticism from historical reality in assessing the impact of the First Labour Government and his studies of The Rake’s Progress: The New Zealand Economy Since 1945 (1982) and The Muldoon Years (1985) will endure as informed and judicious analyses.

Although he always put New Zealand in its international context, John’s research interests also extended directly to experience elsewhere. His Economic Growth in History (1972) is a major achievement in bringing historical knowledge to bear on the major issue of the time, the experience of economic growth. It is essentially an application of the production function approach to the historical record and it can be seen as being in the tradition of Belshaw’s study of the consumption function and the earlier tradition of an interest by leading New Zealand economists in historical experience. But it is interesting to compare Economic Growth in History with Simon Kuznets Modern Economic Growth (1966), the culmination of Kuznets’ work on the empirical record of national income accounting over time, The Kuznets work is rightly celebrated but here is more sense of change over time in Economic Growth in History. It is a product of its time, and later developments have altered the balance of attention to be given to the decisions of producers relative to the choices of consumers, and to the responsibility of governments to manage risk relative to utilization of market instruments, but interest in Economic Growth in History will never be entirely confined to antiquarians.

In John’s study of both New Zealand economic history and the international experience of economic growth, migration was especially significant. He had both a personal and a professional interest in the process of migration. As always the professional dominated. John’s studies of migration were appropriately nuanced on questions such as whether receiving economies always benefited, but there was relatively little tension between personal and professional interests as he explored the motivations, mechanisms and consequences of international migration as a whole. His five linked articles in Journal of European Economic History constitute a monumental achievement.

Since his formal retirement, John has continued to research and publish on significant issues which attract his attention and interest. His work is always characterized by rigorous logic and careful observation. That remains true when venturing into an area which can be controversial and even incendiary such as how we define and measure the number of Maori and other issues of ethnicity.

John says that he has investigated and written about whatever interests him. He has also said that his first preference was to be a concert pianist but that he rightly accepted advice that he would have more material comfort in other pursuits. Nevertheless, he characteristically retained his skills as a pianist, and has recently combined his interests and skills by analyzing the repertoires of piano recitals in the nineteenth century.

We have benefited from John Gould’s wide interests and varied expertise and even more from his ability to bring them to bear on whatever interested him and which also contributed significantly to our understanding of New Zealand and its place in the world. John Gould is rightly acknowledged as a Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

Gary Hawke

John McMillan awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE (d. 2007)

 

John McMillanI’m delighted to read this citation, largely written by John Gibson, for John McMillan, the Jonathan B. Lovelace Professor of International Management and Economics at Stanford University.

John McMillan has made major contributions to the international literature on applications of modern microeconomic theory. Especially prominent strands of his work focus on the economics of auctions, economic reform and transition, and the broader role of market institutions. His work has been influential in the design of policies that have raised billions of dollars for governments around the world through the auctioning of spectrum and other rights. His international standing in the profession is shown by his tenure as editor of the Journal of Economic Literature from 1997-2004.

Even with his international success, John has never forgotten his New Zealand roots. Throughout his career he has kept a close interest in local issues, and has been a frequent visitor to local economics departments, especially Canterbury, and a contributor to NZAE conferences. He also publishes on New Zealand issues, including recent work on the management of economic change, the rate of creative destruction in the economy, and, of course, the economics and strategy of rugby!

John’s contributions also show the importance of economics departments attracting outstanding students from other disciplines. After gaining a Junior Scholarship in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and English, he started in undergraduate Chemistry and Mathematics at Canterbury before making the Knights move into an MCom degree in Economics, which he completed with First Class honours in 1973. John then followed Richard Manning to the University of New South Wales where he completed his PhD in 1978. A series of papers on public goods, and especially public intermediate goods, resulted from this work.

After completing his PhD, John moved to the University of Western Ontario where he remained for almost a decade. He was soon joined there by Preston McAfee and a very successful collaboration began with a series of papers on auctions and bidding. Their JEL survey on this topic remains widely used, with over 400 citations in the last decade. Both authors, along with other theorists, were called in to provide advice on spectrum auctions, which is one of the outstanding policy applications of modern microeconomic theory.

The reforms in the centrally planned economies that began with the liberalization of agriculture in China in 1978 soon made their way on to John’s research agenda. Issues of asymmetric information and strategic behaviour that matter in auctions are even more important in reforming economies where weak institutions often fail to protect property rights. This phase of John’s research, carried out at both San Diego and Stanford, ultimately led to his popular book, Reinventing the Bazaar. Understanding why markets work well in many places, but badly in others, is a key to improved prosperity around the world. We can all be pleased that it is a question that continues to be asked by John McMillan, who is to become a Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

It’s especially pleasing and a great privilege for me who has known John as a student to honour him for his work. Economics at Canterbury had a strong focus on microeconomics with the arrival of Bert Brownlie in the Chair and it’s very gratifying that the bulk of John’s work is in this area. No less satisfying for me is to read his academic ventures into developing countries. Despite his considerable academic achievements, John McMillan remains the quintessential Kiwi bloke, modest and charmingly unassuming. As a student, he combined native brilliance with intellectual focus and curiosity. Not many would know that he was awarded the J B Condliffe scholarship as a student. It is fitting that we honour a man from Canterbury whose fame equals, if not surpasses, that of Condliffe, also a graduate of Canterbury and who was Professor of Economics at both Canterbury and Berkeley, California.

Frank Tay

Gary Hawke awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Gary HawkeGary Hawke’s distinction was apparent as a student in the Economics Department of Victoria University of Wellington in the early 1960s. The judgement of his VUW teachers that he was first class was endorsed when he was awarded a Doctorate in Philosophy at Oxford in 1968. He fortunately decided to return and pursue his academic career in New Zealand. He was rapidly promoted from Lecturer to Professor of Economic History at VUW between 1968 and 1974. Since then, his academic status has been reflected in visiting appointments at a number of leading overseas universities and learned institutions and membership of academic review committees of several Australian universities.

Professor Hawke’s publications are impressive in quantity, range and quality. His major publications include an excellent general economic history of New Zealand and important books on the history of the Reserve Bank and the National Bank. His emphasis on the importance of stronger links between economists and historians is reflected in the useful contribution he made to this objective in his Cambridge book on Economics for Historians.

Gary has used his strong academic base in economics and economic history to make major contributions to professional and public discussion of major issues of economic, social and educational policy in New Zealand over the last 25 years.

He played a leading role in the publications of the Economic Monitoring Group of New Zealand Planning Council in the early 1980s, and in other publications of that Council as its Chairman from 1986 to 1991. During his term, the Council promoted much useful research, publication and discussion, especially through its monitoring groups, on social, demographic and Maori issues, as well as on economic developments.

He made a major personal contribution to establishing the reputation of the Institute of Policy Studies as a centre worthy of outside support for independent research and informed discussion of public policy as its Director from 1987 to 1998. Under his leadership, with a very small core staff, that Institute produced a remarkable output of publications, conferences and seminars on most of the significant policy issues confronting New Zealand, such as public sector reform, taxation policy, regulatory management, education policy, the future of the welfare state and biculturalism. The newsletters of the IPS during his term as its Director demonstrate his remarkable capacity to distil the essence of the contributions made to academic and policy seminars and conferences.

Building on work that he began in the IPS on New Zealand’s relationships with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Gary has become well-known and respected throughout the region for his contributions to the work of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council and the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. He Is currently Chair of the New Zealand Committees of those organisations.

Professor Hawke has served Victoria University of Wellington with distinction, not only in research and teaching, but also in a variety of administrative positions, culminating in his appointment in 2002 as the foundation Head of the School of Government.

He also made a significant contribution to the development of the NZ Association of Economists in the mid-1970s, as a member of its Council and as Editor of New Zealand Economic Papers. His recognition as one of its Distinguished Fellows is well justified.

Frank Holmes

Lewis Evans awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Lewis EvansHow did a farm adviser on “technical and financial matters” become one of New Zealand’s finest academic economists; an economist who has published in top international journals and who has been involved centrally in domestic public policy issues?

Professor Lew Evans worked for five years as a farm adviser with the Department of Agriculture following his BAgrSc degree at Lincoln in the 1960s. After completing his Masters at Lincoln, he took the then relatively unusual step of departing New Zealand to study at a top US department, the University of Wisconsin. There he undertook an MA in Agricultural Economics, followed by an MS and PhD in Economics, in which he gained top honours awards.

Since graduation, he has been based chiefly at Victoria University of Wellington, where he was appointed Professor of Economics in 1988. In 1998 he established the New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation, attached to – but separate from – the university. The ISCR set a new benchmark for independent research organisations in this country. Under Lew Evans’s leadership, ISCR undertook high quality, non-aligned academic research targeted at a particular set of public policy issues. He attracted both private and public sector financial support as well as highly rated researchers.

Research produced by Professor Evans has played a key role in competition policy and in consideration of network economics issues within New Zealand. He has examined issues of competition policy, market dominance, mergers, contract design, performance measurement, investment evaluation, pricing and rental issues. His advice has covered a variety of sectors, including electricity, gas, telecommunications, dairy, railways, health, insurance and road transport.

The aim of ISCR was to conduct work capable both of informing public policy and of being published in reputable journals, thus passing a stern peer review test for quality. That he was successful in achieving the second leg (as well as the first) is apparent from Professor Evans’s publications in the field of “Firms, Markets and Law”. He has authored (or co-authored) 11 journal articles and book chapters in this field alone since 1999, many appearing in top journals of the field – both in economics and in law.

A mark of New Zealand economists, and of New Zealanders generally, is their ability to cover a range of subjects – we tend to be generalists rather than specialists. The publications section of Professor Evans’s CV covers “Finance”, “Econometrics: Theory and Applications”, “New Zealand: General Economics” as well as “Firms, Markets and Law”. In New Zealand terms, he is regarded as a specialist in each of these diverse fields.

I first became aware of Lew as a modeller. He co-supervised Gareth Morgan’s stunningly original PhD modelling thesis, a structural model with explicit dynamic disequlibria. Almost simultaneously, Lew (together with Graeme Wells) was researching and publishing in the then novel (and apparently ‘competing’) field of reduced form vector autoregressive models (VARs). This work built on his joint work with Graeme on causality testing (that had resulted in a paper in Journal of Econometrics as well as New Zealand Economic Papers). Within three years of Sims’ pathbreaking VAR paper, Evans and Wells had published a paper in Economics Letters on new methods of simulating VARs (“push-button” VAR packages were not then available!). They followed this paper with publications in Economic Record and Econometrica. It was extremely rare for any New Zealand economist, let alone one working still within New Zealand, to publish an Econometrica paper.

Across his fields of research, Professor Evans has published in other top-flight journals: Amercian Economic Review, Journal of Economic Literature, International Economic Review, Games and Economic Behaviour, Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, Canadian Journal of Economics, International Journal of Industrial Organisation, The Antitrust Bulletin, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Regulatory Economics, and Journal of Banking and Finance. He has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Literature and Contemporary Economic Policy, and edited New Zealand Economic Papers from 1987-1989.

Few, if any, domestically-based New Zealand economists can match his prolific and highly-rated output. Yet Professor Evans has, and chooses to have, a low public profile. He is extraordinarily influential in the profession and behind the scenes in relevant policy institutions. He has proved to be an outstanding mentor and superviser for graduate students and younger colleagues. Ultimately, his research is driven by a search for knowledge rather than for some ideological or other purpose.

The pattern for this commendable approach was set in his early days, which takes us back to the question posed at the outset. While still employed as a farm adviser, Lew completed an MAgrSc at Lincoln. There, he studied under Bob Townsley (a PhD graduate from the highly rated Iowa State Agricultural Economics department). Townsley stimulated his student’s interest in, and appreciation of, the application of theory to real world issues. He provided the impetus for the young farm adviser to study for his own PhD.

While studying for his PhD at Wisconsin, Lew Evans was lucky enough to study under Art Goldberger who influenced him heavily. Professor Evans’s description of Goldberger’s qualities perfectly describes his own qualities and approach: “a wonderfully clear lecturer who took his teaching and the ‘pursuit of truth’ in teaching and research very seriously.” Fortunately for New Zealand, we are priveleged to continue to share Professor Evans’s insightful scholarship in all its forms.

Arthur Grimes

Brian Easton awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Brian EastonThis Distinguished Fellowship award is made to the most popular economist to the New Zealand public over the last thirty years. The only recognisable New Zealand economist to most people on the street would be Dr Brian Easton. For his long running Listener articles and the research that backed them up, Brian Easton is a most worthy recipient of this highest honour of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

Brian Henry Easton was born in Christchurch and like many famous economists, first trained in mathematics (with an economics minor) at Canterbury. He graduated from Victoria University in economics in 1966 while working at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, an institution he would return to direct from 1981 to 1986. Brian lectured early in his career at the University of Sussex and for twelve years at Canterbury University.

Brian’s capacity to write fortnightly economics articles for the Listener for 27 years is a signal to his commitment to understand the New Zealand economic and social environment, and to publicly communicate on an extremely wide range of issues in both micro and macroeconomics. It points to his 27 page CV of research and consulting papers that underpinned his guest lectures, honorary fellowships, travel awards and public commentary in print, radio and television.

In 2003, the University of Canterbury awarded him the degree of Doctor of Science for his research on the political economy of New Zealand. Political economy was well chosen because Brian has never been restricted by the neo-classical paradigm like so many with this pedigree. He eclectically mixed the mainstream paradigm Keynesianism, Institutionalism and work from other social sciences.

In his twenty years since leaving NZIER, Brian has been an independent researcher, and economic commentator, while holding positions at one time or other in five of New Zealand’s universities, currently including an Adjunct Chair at the Institute for Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology. He has also held visiting fellowships at the University of Melbourne, where he was Richard Downing Research Professor, and Georgetown and Harvard Universities, as a Fulbright New Zealand Distinguished Visiting Fellow.

Brian published eight books on macroeconomics, public policy, and political economy. He edited or jointly wrote another four books and he has published over thirty research monographs and reports.

His research career started with income distribution, but it widened into areas of social policy, health economics, macroeconomics, economic growth, and history.

Much of Brian’s research began with what the numbers emanating from statistical offices really mean. Few can match his understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of New Zealand’s official statistics. Brian is a quantitatively oriented, applied economist – a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and a Chartered Statistician – and he is on advisory committees to the Statistics New Zealand and The Treasury. He is currently the economist on the Growth and Innovation Board; the private sector advisors to the Prime Minister and Cabinet on the government’s economic policy.

For his engagement with the economics profession, with policy makers and with the public, Brain Easton is a very suitable candidate for the award of distinguished fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

Peter Phillips awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Peter C B PhillipsPeter C B Phillips is an outstanding economist and econometrician.

Peter is in many ways a product of the New Zealand education system at its best. He was dux of Mt Albert Grammar School, and went to Auckland University with a scholarship. As might be expected, he won prizes in both mathematics and economics, but more telling was his decision to take Latin to fulfil the language requirement for an arts degree. Doing his masters, Peter was at Auckland when the economics department was strong, and he was especially fortunate to have as his thesis supervisor Rex Bergstrom – a unique teacher and researcher with the highest intellectual standards. The result of their collaboration was stylish piece of work, eventually published in Econometrica in 1972[1], the first of around 170 published articles Peter has produced to date[2].

The range of these is notable; for instance, in addition to the expected stream of technical pieces advancing the frontiers of econometrics, Peter has published poetry in Landfall[3]. But a special mention must be made of a charming reflective piece in 1994[4], where he muses about his life and the place of his family, in the guise of thinking about the day.

After this sound beginning, in 1971 Peter set off for the world, and the path has taken him via the London School of Economics (where he completed his PhD entitled “Problems in the Estimation of Continuous Time Models,” supervised by Denis Sargan) a teaching stint alongside Rex Bergstrom at the University of Essex. – where we worked on modelling the New Zealand economy together – through his first professorship at the University of Birmingham and on to the commanding heights of Yale’s Cowles Commission. He is now the Sterling Professor of Economics and Professor of Statistics at Yale University. In addition, he has been returning to New Zealand regularly for years and is University of Auckland: Alumni Distinguished Professor of Economics, as well as University of York: Adjunct Visiting Professor of Economics.

Peter is founding editor and a prolific contributor to Econometric Theory, where his wide ranging intellect and eager enthusiasm can be seen in a bewildering set of contributions from formal papers to interviews of eminent econometricians.

Peter’s awards and prizes are many, and it is hard to single several out for noting. But to select a few, we note particularly his election to membership of four distinguished scholastic bodies: the New Zealand Royal Society, the Econometric Society the American Statistical Association and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has won the New Zealand Royal Society medal in science and technology as well as the NZIER Qantas economist of the year. But I suspect that among his own preferences would be awards he has received as teacher of the year and advisor of the year from the Yale University Graduate Economics Club.

As this necessarily brief history and his awards suggest, but do not prove, Peter is much more than an outstanding technician; he is a lively and enthusiastic person who lives a full life and enjoys a variety of pursuits. He is indeed an fine individual to know, and a deserving distinguished fellow of the NZAE.

[1] The dissertation was “The Structural Estimation of Stochastic Differential Equation Systems,” and the published piece, “The Structural Estimation of a Stochastic Differential Equation System,” Econometrica, Vol. 40, No. 6, November 1972, pp. 1021-1041.

[2] See http://korora.econ.yale.edu/phillips/

[3] Making the present Auckland economics department surely unique locally in having two professors who have published in New Zealand’s leading literary magazine.

[4] “Reflections on the Day,” Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 8, No. 3, September 1994, 311-316.

John Yeabsley

Sir Frank Holmes awarded Distiguished Fellow of NZAE (d. 2012)

Sir Frank HolmesSir Frank Holmes has been a prominent figure in New Zealand economics for the working life of everyone in this room. When I started work in Wellington in late 1957 Frank was a lecturer at Victoria University, having served, from there, as an adviser to the Royal Commission on Money, Banking and Credit. He was appointed to the Macarthy Chair at Victoria in 1959.

In retrospect the New Zealand economy of the 1950s has some of the charm of a golden age. New Zealand’s fully employed economy ranked amongst a select few nations in terms of per capita income, attaining a relative international standard that is now held before us a distant and probably unattainable ideal. I say some of the charm because, despite undoubted successes, the economic and social structure was loaded with stresses, including its narrow dependence on pastoral exports to the United Kingdom, the role of women and the economic position of Maori, that would play themselves out through succeeding decades.

The world in which Frank grew up was one devastated by economic depression, political extremism and ultimately war, a war that killed tens of millions, destroyed cities and basic infrastructures over vast swathes of territory and consummated itself in genocide and the development and use of nuclear weapons. Frank was drawn into that cauldron and sixty years ago, from the time of this gathering, that is in July 1944, he was a Pilot Officer, back in Auckland following a three-month spell dive-bombing Japanese positions in Rabaul.

Reading Frank’s account of his war experience I was struck by the lottery of our lives. Frank’s father served in Gallipoli and the Somme, Frank in the Pacific. My father, half a generation younger than Frank’s, missed the First World War and served in New Zealand during the second. And I, half a generation younger than Frank, have been spared war entirely. I share Frank’s gratitude that his “children and grandchildren have not been called upon to participate in wars”.

Along with many others Frank came away from war convinced that there must be better ways of settling disputes between peoples and a developing belief in the importance of improving economic and commercial relations between nations. Frank’s commitment to the promotion of open economic relations is reflected in numerous papers on aspects of New Zealand’s external and trade relations. An early and influential paper was Discussion Paper No 1 of the NZIER Should we have free trade with Australia? Over the years Frank has authored numerous papers on trade and economic matters including our relations with Britain and the United States. More recently he has paid particular attention to relations within the Asia Pacific region and has continued to reflect on the Australian-New Zealand relationship including his joint exploration, with Arthur Grimes, of the case for a common currency. He has been active in organisations promoting Asia-Pacific cooperation and was first chair of the Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand.

The economy of the 1950s was widely characterised as an externally constrained high demand economy, operating with one foot on the brake and the other on the accelerator.. It contained two central flaws. The commitment to sustained high demand threatened and, in time, delivered high inflation. Secondly, the external constraints of tariffs and import licensing distorted resource allocation thereby threatening lower real incomes.

The problems associated with inflation were another continuing concern of Frank’s working life that fits naturally with his central professional interests in the economics of money and finance and also with his role as a public economic adviser. His interest has continued to the present. In 1994 he reviewed the frameworks of Australian and New Zealand central banking and in 2000 made a submission to the independent review of monetary policy.

Looking further back, Frank was the founding chairman of the Monetary and Economic Council, serving in that role from 1961 to 1964 and from 1970 to 1972. Both fairly short time spans but during those years Frank played a particularly important role as a reliable and perceptive public analyst and discussant on a sequence of key macroeconomic issues.

On the issue of inflation Frank placed primary emphasis on the importance of getting fiscal and monetary policies right but he also paid attention to the institutions of the labour market as in the December 1971 report on Inflation and the labour market.

In his letter of transmission to the Ministers of Finance and Labour, Frank argued

“The nation cannot tolerate a continuation of increases in costs and prices on the scale we have been experiencing. … employers and unions who persist in making bargains which will lead to the national average of increases in pay rates rising above about 4 percent per annum, are inexorably driving the nation into a cruel choice between unacceptable price inflation, unacceptable stagnation and unemployment or both.”

In the event the players in this drama, like a bemused student faced by a multi-choice question, chose all three, unacceptable inflation, unacceptable stagnation and unacceptable unemployment. But the point that I want to make here is that independent bodies that can help argue the difficult issues that continually confront us assist political process. Frank performed those tasks with distinction, not only with the Monetary and Economic Council but also in a variety of roles, not least as founding chair of the New Zealand Planning Council.

An important attribute of such commentary is that whilst formally addressed to those in authority it also speaks to a public audience including the economic and social actors whose decisions jointly determine outcomes in the area under analysis. I believe it is difficult to overstate the importance of that role and suggest that current policy making suffers from the absence of bodies such as those that Frank chaired. In the ideal the commentator’s text is backed by independent research and reading and informed by discussions with officials and ministers, with key actors in the field, through access to academic research and last but not least by argument and discussion around the council table.

I have witnessed Frank in that role and been impressed by his quiet mastery of it. Frank holds firm opinions but he is not a dogmatic man and is always open to argument. In my experience he is an unusually strong team player. He keeps his eye on the ball and knows instinctively where the play is heading and that success will come most surely when individual strengths are combined and focused on common goals.

Frank’s focus is not solely economic as is evidenced by his continuing interest in education, his chairmanship of the Advisory Council on Educational Planning and of the NZ Council for Educational Research, and his 1975 knighthood for services to economics and education.

The wider field of social policy and cultural matters was most publicly evident during his association with the Planning Council. The 1976 report of the task force on economic and social planning, New Zealand at the Turning Point, which led to the creation of the Council, includes an interesting discussion on the changing balance between racial and cultural pluralities and the importance of focusing on the multicultural nature of New Zealand society, concluding that failures within “the halls of power” had “largely been fostered by an illusion that “minorities” should somehow be content to discard their identity and merge with the dominant group.”

I don’t know whether Frank, who chaired the Taskforce, or one of his associates, drafted these words but I do know that he will have weighed and approved them. Frank’s interest in multi and bi-cultural matters is also evident, in a somewhat surprising place, in a short discussion on the opening page of his 1972 text Money Finance and the Economy. Discussing the distinction between barter and gift-exchange in the pre-European Maori economy he wrote, in words which resonate in the context of current discussions on the seabed and foreshore

“What was acceptable was determined by a mixture of conventions, hints and tacit understandings. Each transaction had the appearance of being free and spontaneous, but in fact it was based on a strict system of obligation, both to give when occasion arose and to accept a gift when offered, with a moral commitment to repay by another gift of at least equal worth.”

I am not far from done but I want to pick out one other thread from Frank’s work, his long-term interest in defining the proper role of government in relation to the evolving balance of economic activity. Given his life-long commitment to promoting more open economic structures one might presume that Frank would adopt a strictly laissez-faire response, but this is not so. In the recently published version of a 1950s paper, The Quest for Security and Welfare in New Zealand 1938-1956, Frank reviewed the pattern of sectoral development and concluded that whilst the efficiency of manufacturing activity could have been assisted by a “somewhat less protective policy” efficiency could also have been promoted by more positive actions, such as institutional innovations in finance, increased spending on research and a decision to invest much more heavily in higher education.

In his Sir Sidney Holland Memorial Lecture of 1962, Planning for Growth in a Freer Economy Frank Holmes argued “the current urgency of longer-term planning”, on the need “to work consciously for the development of new exports and new markets, on the one hand, and the encouragement of maximum economy in the use of overseas exchange and the development of industries, using more domestic resources and components, to produce more of our requirements, on the other.”

He went on to discuss the case for longer-term consultative planning, a theme which was developed extensively, fifteen years later, in the Report of the task force on economic and social planning. Consultative planning has had a bad press in recent years and as one who has, like Frank, frequently advocated it, I have to admit that it has its problems and that the case for it changes through time. But, as I look back over New Zealand’s undoubted successes in transforming the structure of its economy, I suggest we can give thanks to people such as Frank for their undogmatic pragmatism, for their preparedness to review the strengths and weaknesses of the actually existing economy and its institutions. To try and define how their performance might be improved and then to argue and advocate the policies that might help us get there. And, at all times, to keep in mind that economic performance is instrumental and needs to be tested within a wider framework encompassing our individual and collective aspirations, both social and cultural.

Frank has had and continues to have a busy life, in academia, in government circles and in the business community, including directorships, at various times, with Norwich Union, State Insurance, the National Bank and Lloyds Bank in Australia. In the short time that we have here I have been able to no more than sketch the reach and depth of his interests. I want to end on a personal note. In our work we are continually reminded that we each have our own perspective, and reviewing Frank’s work I have been reminded of issues on which our judgements have differed. It is fundamentally important to our profession that we continue to explore and define our different viewpoints, because that is the way we test our ideas and develop frameworks of common understanding. Frank is an energetic and tolerant man who has significantly advanced my, and our, understanding of the workings of the New Zealand economy and its relations with the rest of the world. It gives me great pleasure to nominate Frank Holmes as a recipient of the inaugural award as a Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

Dennis Rose

Roderick Deane awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Roderick S DeaneRoderick has made a considerable contribution to New Zealand over the past 30 years: as an economist and policymaker; as a corporate leader; and as a citizen supporting the arts and the disadvantaged.

Following his early days at Opunake and New Plymouth Boys High, Roderick studied Accounting and Economics at Victoria University. Much of his study was undertaken part time while he worked, first at the Union Steamship Company, and then at the Reserve bank. He came away from Victoria in 1968 with one of their first PhDs, on Foreign Investment in New Zealand Manufacturing, which was subsequently published. The doctorate was supervised by another of our Distinguished Fellows, Sir Frank Holmes.

While Roderick’s doctorate had contained little in the way of econometrics, he made up for this when he returned full time to the Reserve Bank in 1967. He was the driving force in the early development of the Reserve Bank econometric model, which was aimed at providing a consistent framework for monetary policy. From the time of the first modelling discussion paper presented to this Association’s conference in 1968, a significant research capability was built up at the Reserve Bank. As a new graduate economist at the Bank in the mid 70s, I can attest to the stimulating and enjoyable research environment that Roderick promoted.

In the policy arena, Roderick had begun in the mid 70s to promote the rationalisation and liberalisation of the financial system. Much of this work was put on hold, and indeed into reverse, with Muldoon’s re-regulation of the economy from 1982. However, once the Lange/Douglas Labour government came to power in 84, the policy reform process was back on the table – and on steroids. Appointed as Deputy Governor in 1982, Roderick was well placed to be in the vanguard of the reforms, in particular leading the charge on the removal of interest rate regulations and exchange controls and the floating of the NZ dollar in March 1985. Roderick was very persuasive with Officials and cabinet ministers of the day and, importantly, his ideas and commitment to the free market were closely aligned to those of Roger Douglas.

In 1986, at the request of David Lange and Roger Douglas, Roderick took on the major task of restructuring the Public Service as Chairman of the State Services Commission. His ability to see the big picture, to apply common principles of good governance, and simply get things done, contributed to major reforms in the Public sector over this period. In particular, he contributed to the separation of commercial and public policy objectives and the clarification of accountabilities, as typified in the creation of nine new SOEs in 1987.

After a very active year at the State Services Commission, Roderick made his transition to the corporate sector; first as CEO of the Electricity Corporation and then as CEO of Telecom in 1992. This was a period of major transition for both organizations with the Electricity Corporation transforming from a Government Department to an SOE and Telecom taking the next move from SOE to public company. From an economics perspective, Roderick extended his expertise in macro and institutional economics to Law and Economics and indeed further into regulatory economics and network analysis. Increasingly, as he then moved into directorship roles in the late 1990s, Roderick would focus on the principles of good corporate governance and their interaction with regulatory frameworks.

But of course you don’t get to be a top corporate leader just by being a good economist. Roderick once told me years ago that you need three things to succeed in management: Brains; People skills; and third an ability to get things done. I think you will agree with me that Roderick meets all three criteria with ease. The brains go without saying; the people skills are apparent from the loyalty that Roderick instills in the people around him and from his open and honest communication style. And Roderick’s ability to get things done has been his hallmark throughout his career, from the financial reforms of the 1980s to the corporate restructurings of the 1990s.

Roderick continues to apply his considerable talents and now broad experience in a number of top boardroom roles. He chairs three of New Zealand’s top companies: Telecom, ANZ National and Fletcher Building. And sits on several other boards. Roderick also contributes a considerable amount of his time to the disadvantaged and to the Arts. He has had a long association with the IHC, including a period as President and ongoing role as patron. Roderick and his wife Gillian have also contributed to the Arts in New Zealand over many years, supporting a number of individual artists and a range of music and arts organizations. Roderick currently chairs Te Papa and the City Gallery Wellington Foundation.

For the New Zealand Association of Economists, it is Roderick’s contribution to economic policy and public sector reform in New Zealand that are most important and the basis for his recognition as a Distinguished Fellow of this Association. However, Roderick’s much broader contribution to New Zealand makes him a particularly deserving recipient of this award.

Grant Spencer

Conrad Blyth awarded Distinguished Fellow of the NZAE (d. 2012)

Conrad A Blyth The Council for the NZ Association of Economists has chosen four outstanding individuals for the inaugural NZAE Distinguished Fellows awards. It is an honour and a great pleasure to have been given the opportunity to prepare the citation for Conrad Blyth.

Early influences

Three themes have been central to Conrad Blyth’s career as an economist: business cycles, economic development in small economies exposed to commodity price cycles, and New Zealand’s slow post-war economic growth. These are core themes that continue to be important for New Zealand today.

Conrad’s interests in business cycles and the implications of commodity price cycles were ignited in the early 1950s while a student at University of Otago. Harro Bernadelli, a former student of Schumpeter, introduced him to the work of Schumpeter and to a system of simultaneous linear difference equations. Bernadelli also suggested an MA thesis on new trading relationships with South Pacific island societies.1

While curiosity over the nexus between cycles and commodity prices is part of being a New Zealand macroeconomist, Conrad’s research and initiatives attracted international attention and resulted in improved understanding of the properties of post-war business cycles in the USA and lasting innovations for monitoring and forecasting business cycles in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. His interest in economic development and commodity prices had a predominantly South Pacific focus. His expertise in this area was also recognized internationally.

Although Conrad’s research on NZ growth was to come later, at Otago he had also been introduced by Bernadelli to Austrian capital theories and went on to complete in 1958, a PhD thesis on capital theory at Cambridge University. Conrad walked the halls of Cambridge with Richard Goodwin, Richard Kahn, Nicolas Kaldor and Joan Robinson, experienced at first hand the playing out of the famous Cambridge capital debates, lectured in statistics and economics, and published articles on capital theory in Econometrica and Economica (Blyth, 1956, 1960a).

By the time he returned to New Zealand in 1960 as the first Director of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Conrad was well versed in the 1950s revival of growth theory. Impressed in particular by the work of Solow, Conrad turned his attention to New Zealand’s economic growth. His pioneering New Zealand research on productivity measurement was complemented by important contributions to the policy debates surrounding protection and industrial development in the 1960s and economic reform in the 1980s.

The Treasury, Wellington, New Zealand. I am grateful to Conrad Blyth, Allan Catt and Des O’Dea for their fascinating recollections and anecdotes and to Sarah Spring for tracking down copies of early NZIER papers.

1. Conrad’s undergraduate degree at University of Otago was in both history and economics. The opportunity to be a paid tutor in economics influenced his choice of post-graduate study. History nevertheless was an enduring interest. After graduating MA in economics in 1951, as an assistant lecturer at Otago he taught the stage II economic history course. In Auckland in 1972, to satisfy the Department’s obligation to students, Conrad taught a three-paper economic history course. Of the view that a background in history is an essential part of an economist’s training, he zealously protected economic history for as long as it was possible, and introduced economic history into some of his Auckland masters papers.

The Treasury, Wellington, New Zealand. I am grateful to Conrad Blyth, Allan Catt and Des O’Dea for their fascinating recollections and anecdotes and to Sarah Spring for tracking down copies of early NZIER papers.

1. Conrad’s undergraduate degree at University of Otago was in both history and economics. The opportunity to be a paid tutor in economics influenced his choice of post-graduate study. History nevertheless was an enduring interest. After graduating MA in economics in 1951, as an assistant lecturer at Otago he taught the stage II economic history course. In Auckland in 1972, to satisfy the Department’s obligation to students, Conrad taught a three-paper economic history course. Of the view that a background in history is an essential part of an economist’s training, he zealously protected economic history for as long as it was possible, and introduced economic history into some of his Auckland masters papers.

Business cycles and macroeconomic forecasting

The study of business cycles appealed to Conrad not only from the academic point of view of explaining them, but also from the ways in which the theory and history of business cycles can provide an underpinning to macroeconomic forecasting. His first empirical research into the early post-1945 American cycles began at Otago, and continued in Cambridge, where he provided new perspectives on the 1948-49 US recession (Blyth, 1954, 1956). It is fitting that this year is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Conrad’s article on this topic in the Economic Journal. He continued this work when over a decade later in Canberra at the ANU he wrote a monograph on American cycles from 1946 to 1950, emphasizing the unique features of the 1948-49 recession and the rapid recovery which became a feature of many later American cycles (Blyth, 1969a).2

In his work in macroeconomic forecasting during the 1960s at the NZIER in Wellington, the Australian National University in Canberra and at the NIESR in London, business cycle analysis provided a continuous basis. During these stages Conrad was particularly concerned with the forging of new statistical tools to service forecasters. One of the origins of this interest was a lecture course he gave in Cambridge on economic statistics, which formed the basis of the text he published 1960 (Blyth, 1960b). This drew the attention of economists to British quarterly national income statistics.

The late 1950s was a watershed for the NZ economics profession. The NZ Association of Economists, BERL and the NZ Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) were all established in a short space of time. As the foundation Director of the NZIER in 1960, in a very short period of time Conrad assembled a staff of about ten, instigated a research programme, a series of seminars in major centers, and he started the Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) and Quarterly Predictions (QP).

The initial aim of the QSBO was “to provide information on current trends, to attempt some prediction of the immediate future, and to do this in a manner that the collection, compilation and publication of the survey can take place as soon as possible after the close of each quarter” (Gillion, page 58).3 Now entering its forty-fourth year, the NZIER survey has not only realized these initial aims but has also generated an internationally unique micro-firm data set that has become a basis for more fundamental research testing the properties of expectations, models of firm pricing, output, employment and investment behaviour and testing the microfoundations of business cycles.4

Quarterly Predictions was started using the NZIER’s own quarterly estimates of national income and expenditure deliberately to make it non-competitive with BERL and the Monetary and Economic Council. The NZIER also used QP as a vehicle for short notes on a variety of topics and this practice has continued.5 Quarterly Predictions is now in its fortieth year.

During these formative years the Institute emerged as an incubator for young economists. Research assistants at the Institute during Conrad’s time as Director included Rosemary Atkinson, Graham Crothall, Brian Easton, Colin Gillion, Kerry McDonald, David Sewell, and Stephen Turnovsky.

As Deputy Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) in London from 1968 to 1971, Conrad was primarily responsible for building a macroeconomic forecasting model. But he also reorganized an occasional survey of a panel of British firms, and his most lasting managerial achievement at the NIESR was helping to persuade the British Treasury to finance research at the Institute to develop a British set of leading indicators, on the lines of the well established leading indicators of the United States. Des O’Dea was recruited to undertake the research, and for some decades now the British Central Statistical Office has published and analysed its indicators.

After returning again to New Zealand in 1972 to take up the position of Professor and Head of Department of Economics at University of Auckland, Conrad’s interest in business cycles showed itself in the macroeconomic lectures at different levels which he gave each year. These included the master’s classes he gave from time to time on the Great Depression and on Business Cycles, and the theses he encouraged. Conrad recalls that one of the most memorable amongst these was a course paper by Hugh Fletcher on the question as to whether the Great Depression could happen again.

After his last sabbatical in 1988 Conrad turned his attention to international cycles (Blyth 1992a, 1992b). Despite the view that floating exchange rates have increased the correlation between national cycles, he believes the historical-statistical evidence shows a continuous sequence of correlated cycles since 1945, including at least one pronounced international cycle in the late 1950s.

2. Conrad came to favour flexible shock-response models rather than the non-linear cycle models (like those of Richard Goodwin, who had been one of Conrad’s supervisors at Cambridge) then becoming popular amongst theorists.

3. Tendency surveys like the QSBO were first organized by the ifo Institut fur Wirtschaftsforschung (the Munich Business test or “Konjunkturtest”) at the end of 1949 to overcome economic data deficiencies in post-war Germany and to obtain more immediate information about business activity in an economy undergoing major reconstruction (Theil, 1952). Although there was interest amongst New Zealand academics in the ifo Institut survey prior to 1960, Conrad recalls that the NZIER survey was originally based on the ACMA–Bank of NSW industrial trends survey (itself based on the ifo Institut of Munich’s survey) that had started in 1960. When he shifted to Canberra in 1965 as Professorial Fellow in the Economics Department of the Research School of Pacific Studies, Conrad advised the Bank of NSW economists on a revamping of their survey, and undertook some research into the extent to which data from that the Australian survey indexes could be used to estimate and forecast corresponding official Australian economic data (Blyth, 1967).

4. Henri Theil (1952) had initially raised interest in the research potential of the micro firm data available from tendency surveys of this type and Zimmerman’s (1997) survey illustrates how that potential has been exploited.

5. Allan Catt was the first Editor of Quarterly Predictions. The first short articles in QP were written by Conrad Blyth (1964b) on “Research into New Zealand’s economic growth” and by Peter Elkan (1964) on “Industrial growth and world trade”.

The South Pacific, economic development and commodity prices

Stimulated by his masters thesis research, Conrad visited Fiji in 1951 to inquire into recent colonial policy which was withdrawing Fijians from the market economy. His interests in the South Pacific continued in Canberra, where he used budget data from anthropological fieldwork to estimate a marginal propensity to save in South Pacific economies (Blyth, 1969b), and continued while in Auckland.

In the early 1970s he was part of a United Nations Development Advisory Team developing measurement of non-monetary activities (UNDAT, 1974). In the 1980s, following an invitation from the Institute of National Affairs, Port Moresby, to undertake some study of Papua-New Guinea’s problems, Conrad made several research visits to PNG, and prepared reports on issues of public expenditure and budgetary problems (Blyth, 1988, 1991, 1994). He saw PNG as a case study of the effect the international business cycle had on commodity prices and hence on a developing economy. These reports contain the views he formed about the relationship between the monetary and non-monetary economies of PNG, and the effect that export fluctuations had on the budget.

His interest South Pacific economies (as well as his masters lectures on comparative economics) encouraged some students, like Alan Bollard, to write theses on Pacific island issues, and also encouraged others, like Jon Altman, to go further in the study of indigenous economies.

International recognition of Conrad’s expertise in commodity markets and South Pacific development was reflected in appointments to several internationally sponsored inquiries. In 1975 he was a member of an UNCTAD committee of experts to report on the problems of non-oil commodity producers (i.e. low and unstable commodity prices).6 He stayed on in Geneva for some weeks to assist the Secretariat in developing an “Integrated Programme for Commodities” by writing one of the papers (UNCTAD, 1975). Earlier, in London, he had represented the NIESR in an International Monetary Fund sponsored and funded inquiry into the nature and feasibility of commodity price forecasting.

In 1982-83 Conrad was a member of a Commonwealth Study Group that reported on the problems of the world financial and trading system under the title Towards a New Bretton Woods (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1983). The wide-ranging report included long-term recommendations concerned with reducing cyclical instability and risk of shocks, improving multilateral control of cyclical instability, increased symmetry in balance of payments adjustment, stabilization of commodity prices, and providing more regular development assistance.7

6. The group divided into a Nicolas Kaldor group advocating price stabilization and an American group led by Hendrick Houthaker who said stabilization would not work, almost the difference between fix and flexible price models. Conrad’s friendship with Kaldor survived his joining the Houthaker’s camp.

7. Conrad recalls that the Group was strongly anti-American, tending to blame the international instability on the United States’ monetisation of its debt due to rising military expenditures. Conrad took some consolation in his successful attempt to get the report to lay off the United States, but he could not get the developing countries to accept any responsibility.

The New Zealand theme

Under Conrad leadership in the early 1960s, New Zealand’s slow post-war growth was to be the NZIER’s central research theme. In the first NZIER research paper Conrad generated what appears to be the first published growth accounting decomposition and estimates of aggregate and sectoral labour productivity growth for New Zealand (Blyth, 1961). This paper also exposed New Zealand’s labour productivity growth in an international context. Although in light of the subsequent insights from the growth convergence literature New Zealand’s labour productivity growth might have been expected to lag that for the post-war reconstructing economies of Japan and Western Europe, Conrad was able to show that New Zealand labour productivity growth during the 1950s was also slower than for the USA and about half the growth rate for Australia.

The problem as Conrad viewed it, was that the overall growth in output and labour productivity growth was hampered by a “pseudo-growth” policy of promoting manufacturing via border protection and inflation. By raising the costs of farming and aggravating the shortage of farm workers, this strategy had simultaneously raised farm capital requirements while reducing funds available for farm investment without necessarily improving aggregate productivity.8
9
This initial study was followed by development of suitable data (for example, Blyth and Gillion, 1962) and more groundbreaking research for New Zealand investigating output, employment and productivity growth in manufacturing (Blyth and Hamer, 1963), This latter paper investigated whether the growth in the labour force attracted into manufacturing and services was being drawn into industries with lower output and productivity growth than in farming. Their conclusion that there was scope for raising overall growth by improving productivity in lagging manufacturing firms was followed up with seminars and papers highlighting differences in productivity performance across manufacturing, discussing the requirements for successful firms in New Zealand, and encouraging firms to be exporters (Blyth, 1963a, 1963b, 1964).

Conrad emphasized three factors as fundamental to growth in the productivity of New Zealand firms: management, capital and scientific research (Blyth, 1964, page 15). Capital because New Zealand firms seemed to have high capital-output ratios, new investment because it was likely to be the key means of new technology adoption, and scientific research because it was the source of new ideas and technology. However, to improve output growth to 4 per cent per annum was likely to require an unrealistically high rate of saving thereby necessitating a reallocation of capital or improved efficiency in the use of capital (Blyth, 1961, pages 10–12). Further, Conrad noted New Zealand’s heavy dependence on imported ideas and technology and considered that the absence of technical skills and scientific investigation was a “disadvantage, which our economy must overcome.“ (Blyth, 1961, page 14).

Inquiry into the performance of New Zealand firms was complemented by the development of a linear programming model of the NZ economy to investigate the relationship between the exchange rate and real wages (Blyth and Crothall, 1962, 1965). Conrad also used the neoclassical model of growth to evaluate, at the aggregate level, savings rates required to achieve alternative growth rates for particular rates of productivity growth in circumstances where the economy is balance of payments constrained (Blyth, 1965).

Conrad found it difficult to escape the arguments over protection and import licensing. His private solution was to float the exchange rate and dismantle protection. But these were dangerous waters in view of the way the Institute was financed. His first venture into these waters went largely unnoticed. In his introduction to the 1964 book which he edited, The future of manufacturing in New Zealand, Conrad cautiously considered how the economy might develop in response to “a liberalised environment……with no quantitative import licencing and no discrimination in tariffs or in export incentives, but with an adjustment of the exchange rate” to maintain internal and external balance. He conceded, however that “the case of wholesale economic liberalisation is unlikely to be government policy in New Zealand” (Blyth, 1964a, page 15).

A year later when he dived into these waters again, he was noticed. During a lecture series by Conrad to Waikato farmers, Prime Minister Keith Holyoake complained to the Chairman of the Board of the NZIER (Jim Andrews, who was the CEO of the National Bank) that the banks were trying to railroad him. Allan Catt recalls the incident as follows: “Conrad’s solution was widely reported and caused consternation all around. The first I knew about it was when the Chairman of Trustees, Jim Andrews appeared at the Institute virtually shouting ‘Where’s Blyth, where’s Blyth?’ I said he’s drumming up support in Hamilton. What’s wrong, can I help? ‘He’s gone over the top this time; he’s suggested we float the exchange rate. Everyone’s up in arms. Get him for me now, I want to have a word.’9 Conrad recalls that his response to Andrews that he was”simply indulging in some adult education” seemed to placate the Chairman of the Board.

Conrad returned to the issue of New Zealand’s growth several times over the next twenty years. He published a paper that compared different visions of New Zealand’s political economy and suggested that the current model of industrialization implied a subsidy from farming to the urban labour force (Blyth, 1966). In his inaugural lecture at Auckland he suggested that the process of industrialization from the 1880s to the 1970s could be explained firstly by the growth of farming (meat freezing, motor vehicle repair, etc) and secondly by the more or less continuous decline in New Zealand real wages relative to the rest of the world. He was Chairman of an NDC committee on Industrial Protection that reported to the government in 1972. And he sustained his interest in this issue when, back in New Zealand after his time at the OECD, he became Deputy Chairman of the Planning Council and convener of its Economic Monitoring Group (EMG).

In the years 1982 to 1985 the EMG shifted its focus from short-term macro forecasting to issues surrounding New Zealand’s growth, and published a series of reports which concluded that faster, sustainable growth required an extensive liberalization of the economy (Economic Monitoring Group, 1983, 1984a, 1984b). In this, the EMG was probably one voice amongst many, but insofar as the Treasury’s reports ended up in the Prime Minister’s waste paper basket, possibly the EMG’s reports were more widely read.

The EMG’s reports assumed that liberalization must proceed at the micro level, before major changes in the macro environment could be attempted. While supportive of the eventual microeconomic revolution (see for instance Blyth, 1987, page 4), as an observer of the liberalization process Conrad considered that the sequence of reform, the size of the budget deficit and inflation hampered reform and contributed to the unexpected costs and the long time New Zealand had to wait for the benefits of reform (Blyth, 1987a, 1987b). In his address to the NZIER AGM in 1987 entitled “The economic consequences of Mr Douglas”, he argued that unless the market gives the private agents a clear long-run guide as to what the real interest rate is going to be, things will go awry (Blyth, 1987b, page 6). He also emphasised the complications to price signalling that high inflation can cause, a theme that was prominent in his 1977 book on New Zealand inflation (Blyth, 1977).10

Conrad’s contribution to New Zealand public policy extended beyond industrial policy. In 1966-67 he was a member of the Ross taxation committee, commuting from Canberra to assist in a report that made the first tentative suggestions of a GST type tax. In the 1970s he became a member of the National Research Advisory Council, where as chair of the Social Sciences committee he was able to put government research funding for the social sciences on a regular, independent basis.

8. The phrase “pseudo-growth policy” is from Blyth (1987) in which he describes this growth “medicine” as “tablets of demand management, or slow drips of protection” (page 2).

9. Private correspondence from Allan Catt, June, 2004.

10. In his 1977 book, Conrad regarded the option of indexation as a way of learning to live with inflation as a “dangerous option, – particularly for a small specialist exporter of materials and foodstuffs, whose ability to maintain a fully employed workforce depends on a continuous import of material and capital goods” (Blyth, 1977, pages 85 – 86).

Rolling stone, leader and mentor

One obvious feature of Conrad’s career has been his tendency to move from one country to another. However this feature is not unique to Conrad. From the earlier giants like JB Condliffe and Horace Belshaw to the latter-day examples of Malcolm Fisher, Rex Bergstrom, Peter Lloyd, Steven Turnovsky and Peter Phillips, New Zealand economists have shown a tendency to roll – and some may even have gathered moss. Of course in some respects this reflects the normal brain exchange, although it also reflects the internationalization of the economics profession. With each roll, Conrad made significant contributions to our understanding of business cycles, the significance of commodity prices in cycles and development, and to New Zealand economic growth research and policy debates.

As a leader in whatever position he has held, whether as Director of the NZIER, President of the New Zealand Association of Economists briefly in 1964-65, Deputy Director of the NIESR, Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Auckland, Head of a division at the OECD or member of any number of committees of enquiry, he brought a touch of class and much credibility. In a full career he even found time in 1976-77 to become the Listener’s first Economics columnist, being succeeded by his ex-research assistant Brian Easton.

He also brought a capacity to unostentatiously acquire resources and get things done. Starting from nothing at the NZIER, he quickly established the Institute to be a major voice in economic policy discussion in New Zealand. He put it on a foundation such that it has never faltered to this day and the initial aims of its publications QSBO and QP remain relevant today. His period as head of the Economics Department at Auckland from 1972 to 1977 and again from 1982 to 1986 was one of considerable expansion. The early 1970s and the 1980s was a period a rapid growth in student enrolments and international competition for academic economists.

In these roles in particular he had a major influence on the future shape of two institutions of significance to the New Zealand economics profession. By example, encouragement and teaching, Conrad has attracted hundreds of students into the discipline to which he was drawn over 50 years earlier, and has inspired many of his students and colleagues to investigate cycles, growth and development in the New Zealand and South Pacific economies.

For these reasons the NZ Association of Economists has chosen Conrad Blyth as an inaugural recipient of the Distinguished Fellow Award.

References

Blyth, Conrad A (2004), A history of the Economics Department of the University of Auckland, Draft manuscript.

________ (1994), “Sustainable budgets for Papua New Guinea’s economic development”, Discussion Paper of the Institute of National Affairs, Port Moresby, No 63.

________ (1992b), “International synchronisation and propagation of national business cycles”, Key Note Address, New Zealand Association of Economists’ Conference, University of Waikato, August.

________ (1992a), “Trade and the international propagation of the business cycle”, paper presented to the 21st Annual Conference of Australian Economists, University of Melbourne, May.

________ (1991), “Government expenditure in Papua New Guinea: Human capital formation”, Discussion Paper of the Institute of National Affairs, Port Moresby, No 46.

________ (1988), “Government expenditure in Papua New Guinea”, Discussion Paper of the Institute of National Affairs, Port Moresby, No 34.

________ (1987b), “The economic consequences of Mr Douglas”, Discussion Paper of N.Z. Institute of Economic Research, Wellington, No 32.

________ (1987a), “The economists’ perspective of economic liberalisation”, Chapter 1 in Economic Liberalisation in New Zealand, ed. Alan Bollard and Robert A Buckle, Wellington: Allen & Unwin and Port Nicholson Press. 3 – 24.

________ (1977), Inflation in New Zealand, Hornsby, N.S.W: George Allen & Unwin Australia in association with N.Z. Institute of Economic Research.

________ (1974) “The industrialization of New Zealand”, New Zealand Economic Papers, 8, 1-22.

________ (1969a), American business cycles, 1945 – 1950. London. Allen & Unwin.

________ (1969b), “Primitive South Pacific economies: Their consumption pattern and propensity to save out of cash income”, The Economic Record, 45, September, 354 – 372.

________ (1967), “The A.C.M.A.-Bank of N.S.W. Industrial Trends Survey: Its Use in Estimating Changes in Statistical Series”, The Economic Record, 43, December, 544 – 565.

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_______________________ (1984a), The government deficit and the economy, Wellington: New Zealand Planning Council.

_______________________ (1983), Foreign exchange constraints, export growth and overseas debt, Wellington: New Zealand Planning Council.

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________ (1958), Economic forecasts and policy, Amsterdam: North-Holland.

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Robert A Buckle