Welcome to the NZAE blog

Featured

The intention of this blog is to highlight economists’ work and provide material to support education and general understanding, especially as it relates to economics in New Zealand. It is not a forum for advocacy (other than better use of economics). Posts are categorised as Events, Insights or NZAE News (includes subcategories). Posts are also tagged with the JEL Classification and/or as considered appropriate (see list below). Authors are generally Councillors of the NZAE. Anyone can provide comments. Any views expressed are not necessarily those of the NZAE.

Call for 2020 NZ PhD Economics Workshop Papers by 14-Aug

Call for Papers
2020 New Zealand Virtual PhD Workshop

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the first New Zealand Virtual PhD Workshop endorsed by the New Zealand Association of Economists will take place on Friday, September 18, 2020.

The COVID-19 crisis has many negative effects, but also leads to innovative concepts and allows us to use unexploited technologies. By using online communication platforms, we can broaden participation and achieve a greater diversity of voices.

The aim of this Workshop is to promote the exchange of ideas among PhD students conducting research in all fields of economics. The Workshop offers a platform for young economists to connect, build networks, and receive feedback.

The Workshop will take place using Zoom (live streaming). Each accepted paper will be allocated 20-minutes for its presentation and 10 minutes for questions and discussion.

We cordially invite PhD students and PostDocs to send an extended abstract or full paper to: nzvirtual2020@gmail.com by August 14, 2020. Authors will be informed about the acceptance of their submission by the end of August
.
With generous support by the NZAE Education Trust, we will award a prize ($300) for the best paper and a prize ($200) for the best presentation. To be eligible for the full paper award, a full paper is required by the submission deadline. Only currently enrolled PhD students are eligible for the prizes.

We are looking forward to seeing you online!

Organizers
Simona Fabrizi (University of Auckland)
Andrea Menclova (University of Canterbury)
Dennis Wesselbaum (University of Otago)

pdf copy of notice

Call for papers by 30 August 2020 for NZEP special issue on COVID-19

Call for Papers
Special Issue on
“COVID-19: Economic Implications for New Zealand and the Pacific”

Guest Editors

  • David Fielding (University of Manchester and University of Otago)
  • John Gibson (University of Waikato)
  • Ilan Noy (Victoria University of Wellington)

Since the end of the Second World War, the world economy has not faced a more serious crisis than the COVID-19 induced recession. Most countries in the world have imported the virus and are now beginning to deal with the societal and economic effects.

This Special Issue of New Zealand Economic Papers will be devoted to the economic implications for New Zealand and the Pacific.

We will accept two types of submissions:

1. Research Notes (2,000-3,000 words, up to 4 display items, and up to 30 references)
2. Policy Papers (1,000-2,000 words, up to 2 display items, and up to 15 references)

Research Notes are based upon a swift analyses of preliminary data or the simulation of a theoretical model. All submissions should be based on primary or secondary data (for theoretical submissions this applies to the calibration/parameterization) and be related to the existing literature.

Policy Papers should highlight issues of public interest and inform policy makers. They can be provocative expert pieces evaluating the policy response to COVID-19 or suggesting policy changes. They should also set the policy agenda for the future.
We do welcome submissions on a wide range of economic topics and especially invite submissions from interdisciplinary teams (national and international ones).

In order to facilitate a timely publication, we change the traditional review process used by NZEP. Research notes will be sent out for external review, while Policy Papers will be reviewed by the Guest Editors. Decisions for research notes can be: accept, reject, or minor revision (mostly about verbal explanations or minor changes to the model/estimations). Policy Papers will either be accepted (bar minor editorial changes) or rejected. Major revisions will be rejected, but might be included in a subsequent regular issue.

We aim for a fast turnaround and intend to provide decisions on research notes within two months of the date of submission. For Policy Papers, we will provide a decision within one month. Accepted papers will be published online (in early view) quickly thereafter.

Submission: Via the online portal at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/rnzp

Submission Deadline: August 30, 2020.

Tentative (Print) Publication Date: End of 2020 or early 2021

Notice as pdf

NZAE Conference 2020 cancelled

Dear economics community,

Due to the ongoing and worsening COVID-19 situation, the NZAE Council has moved to cancel the 2020 Conference.

This decision was not taken lightly and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Please contact our conference managers On Cue with any queries. https://www.nzaeconference.co.nz/

Be safe, be kind

Regards

Peter Tait

President of the New Zealand Association of Economists

First Call for Papers at NZAE Annual Conference Jun/Jul 2020 Wellington

First Call for Papers:
61st New Zealand Association of Economists Annual Conference
To be held at Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington Tuesday 30 June to Thursday 2nd July 2020

NZAE PhD Student Workshop, 2020
To be held at Motu Economic & Public Policy Research office, Wellington Monday 29 June 2020

Stata Prize for Excellence in Graphics Communication
one of many prizes to be awarded at the Conference

Feel free to distribute the attached flyer to colleagues who may be interested in attending the Conference and or joining the Association. Further information can be found within the attached flyer and on the Conference website https://www.nzaeconference.co.nz/

Please email all conference enquiries to Ian Duncan or Jenna Collett at On-Cue or NZAE

Flyer: NZAE2020 first__call_for_papers

Call for papers by 30 April 2020 for NZEP special issue on central banking

Submission deadline now: 30 April 2020

Central banks are facing a new and uncertain landscape. The reliance on one policy objective – inflation targeting – and one tool – interest rates – has proven to be inadequate. Despite record-low interest rates over many years and massive liquidity injections by central banks through asset purchase programs, inflation has not picked up as expected in many developed economies. Central banks’ operational independence has been severely questioned. So where do central banks go from here?

This Special Issue of New Zealand Economic Papers will be devoted to addressing these questions using evidence-based economic analysis. We welcome research on all aspects of central banking, including its practices, challenges and the future. We welcome both national and international submissions.

See attached for more detail NZEP Call for Papers Jan2020

Early seminars in 2020

Treasury in Wellington hosts Kevin Fox, Professor and Director of Centre for Applied Economic Research, UNSW Business School, Sydney 4 February 2020, discussing “The Digital Economy, Welfare and Productivity Growth“.

Massey University in Palmerston North hosts local Senior Lecturer Kim Hang Pham Do 5 February 2020, discussing “Does tourism improve the community’s well-being in Marine Protected Areas?“.

Motu in Wellington hosts Kevin Rennert, Fellow and Director, Social Cost of Carbon Initiative, Resources for the Future, United States 13 February 2020, discussing “Improving Estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon, and the Status of State and Federal Climate Policy in the United States“.

Otherwise check the web pages of each institution, listed here, in early 2020 for updates.

NZAE Conference 2020 early information

See dedicated conference website for more detail released nearer to the event.

Title: 61st NZAE Conference 2020
Location: Rutherford House, Victoria University of Wellington
Description: Annual 3-day NZAE Conference
Start Date: Tues June 30, 2020
Start Time: 08:00
End Date: Thur July 2, 2020
End Time: 13:30

2020 Conference important dates:

  • Thursday 20th February First notice of conference sent out
  • Thursday 20th February Portal for abstract submissions opens
  • Monday 23rd March Final notice of conference sent out
  • Thursday 26th March Conference registration opens
  • Thursday 2nd April Abstracts Due
  • By Wednesday 22nd April Notification of acceptances
  • Wednesday 13th May Registration deadline for presenters
  • Wednesday 13th May Deadline for early-bird registration
  • Wednesday 10th June Full papers due for entries to prizes
  • Tuesday 30th June Conference start
  • Thursday 2nd July Conference end

PhD Workshop: Tuesday, 29th June; venue TBD

2020 Conference keynotes:

2019 NZEP Issue 3 includes evaluation of PBRF metrics

The contents of New Zealand Economic Papers, Volume 53, Issue 3, 2019 (available online or by subscription):

    • Modelling public expenditure growth in New Zealand, 1972–2015 by Norman Gemmell, Derek Gill & Loc Nguyen
    • Quantifying the costs of land use regulation: evidence from New Zealand by Kirdan Lees
    • An evaluation of metrics used by the Performance-based Research Fund process in New Zealand by Robert A. Buckle & John Creedy
    • Turn of the Month effect in the New Zealand stock market by Jun Chen, Bart Frijns, Ivan Indriawan & Haodong Ren
    • A note on sugar taxes and changes in total calorie consumption by John Creedy
    • Citation for Stephen Jenkins to mark his Distinguished Fellow award by the New Zealand Association of Economists by Mark J. Holmes

2019 NZEP Issue 2 includes fuel prices and road accidents in NZ

The contents of New Zealand Economic Papers, Volume 53, Issue 2, 2019 (available online or by subscription):

    • Fuel prices and road accident outcomes in New Zealand by Rohan Best & Paul J. Burke
    • Labour supply elasticities in New Zealand by John Creedy & Penny Mok
    • The evolution of research quality in New Zealand universities as measured by the performance-based research fund process by Robert A. Buckle & John Creedy
    • Bank efficiency in New Zealand: a stochastic frontier approach by Ying Fang Lu, Christopher Gan, Baiding Hu, Moau Yong Toh & David A Cohen
    • Youth response to state cyberbullying laws by Kabir Dasgupta
    • Succession and investment in New Zealand farming by William Wright & P Brown

Stephen Jenkins awarded Distinguished Fellow of NZAE

Stephen JenkinsStephen Jenkins is Professor of Economic and Social Policy at the London School of Economics. He is one of the world’s leading scholars in the economics of inequality and poverty. He has contributed significantly to applied econometrics and in doing so, his work has addressed topics such as the rise in top incomes and their contribution to recent increases in inequality, how to measure poverty persistence and assess which factors trigger exits from a poverty spell. Stephen has also researched related topics such as labour market participation and the tax and benefit system. An honours graduate from the University of Otago, Stephen held a junior lectureship at Massey University. He then obtained his doctorate from the University of York, UK on Inequality and Intergenerational Continuities in Lifetime Income (1983) which was supervised by Tony Atkinson. Thereafter followed a range of university appointments at the Universities of Bath, Essex (as Professor of Economics at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), and ISER Director) and Swansea (Professor of Applied Economics). In addition to this, Stephen has held a number of notable positions that includes Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Economic Inequality (2014–17), President of the International Association for Research on Income and Wealth (2006–8) and of the European Society for Population Economics (1998) as well as the R.I. Downing Fellow, University of Melbourne in 2009. Stephen has maintained close links with researchers in New Zealand. He has served as a consultant to the New Zealand Treasury in 1994, and took part in a Treasury-organised conference in 2016. An examination of his very impressive list of publications to date underlines both the quality and impact of his outstanding research. Stephen has collaborated extensively not only with Tony Atkinson, but he has also written with other leading scholars in his field such as Andrea Brandolini and François Bourguignon. His work has appeared in a long list of leading Economics journals that includes Economica, Economic Journal, Health Economics, Journal of Population Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Review of Income and Wealth and many more. Stephen has also published several influential books including Changing Fortunes: Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics in Britain (2011) and The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income (co-edited with Brandolini, Micklewright and Nolan in 2013). Stephen’s considerable influence on colleagues’ thinking is underlined by the extent to which his work has been cited. According to Google Scholar, his research receives over a thousand citations a year. He has almost fifty publications (journal articles, books and book chapters) that have been cited at least hundred times. If one considers the Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) worldwide citation rankings for almost 60000 authors, Stephen comfortably sits inside the top 0.5 per cent. The New Zealand Association of Economists is delighted to bestow upon Stephen Jenkins a Distinguished Fellow award.

References
Jenkins, S., Changing Fortunes: Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics in Britain, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011.
Jenkins S., Brandolini A., Micklewright J. and B. Nolan (eds.), The Great Recession and the Distribution of Household Income, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013.

Caroline Saunders elected NZAE Life Member

Caroline was a Council member of the NZAE from 1997 to 2006 and was President of the Association from 2001 to 2003. During her time as President and then Past President, the Association instituted its Distinguished Fellow awards which has brought NZAE and its members into closer contact with many of New Zealand top economists, based both in New Zealand and overseas. Her service to the wider economics profession has also been admirable. Caroline is the long-standing Director of the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit at Lincoln University. Serving the broader research field, Caroline was appointed as a Royal Society Te Apārangi Councillor, a position she held from 2015 to 2018. She is a Director of Landcare Research (Manaaki Whenua) and, in 2019, was one of the inaugural appointees to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s Monetary Policy Committee. At an international level, Caroline serves the economics profession by holding the Agricultural Economics Society Presidency for 2019-2020. Caroline’s service both to the economics profession and more broadly has been recognised with the award of NZIER Economist of the Year in 2007, and by becoming an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2009. The Association is delighted to add to these recognitions of service by awarding Caroline Saunders with life membership of the New Zealand Association of Economists.

13th A R Bergstrom Prize in Econometrics to James Graham

Congratulations to James Graham, who was awarded the 2019 A. R. Bergstrom Prize in Econometrics for his paper “House Prices and Consumption: A New Instrumental Variables Approach”. The Bergstrom Prize can be awarded every two years and aims to reward the achievement of excellence in econometrics, as evidenced by a research paper in any area of econometrics.

Fluctuations in house prices are thought to have a significant impact on the macroeconomy, especially through their effect on consumption expenditures. The household balance sheet channel is a commonly cited explanation for this effect, whereby movements in house prices induce wealth effects and changes in the value of collateral. The primary difficulty in trying to identify these effects empirically is that house prices are endogenous equilibrium objects. Instrumental variables strategies are one way to isolate potentially exogenous variation in such prices.

James’ paper assesses the response of household consumption to house prices using a new instrumental variable strategy, which follows the literature on Bartik instruments. These are often referred to as “shift-share”’ instruments, since they typically consist of some aggregate shock that differentially affects locations according to the share of economic activity exposed to that shock.

In the paper, the instrument for local house price growth consists of the local share of houses possessing particular physical characteristics, which is then interacted with regional growth in the marginal prices of those characteristics. The characteristics include features that capture the overall quality of a house, such as its age, number of bedrooms, or number of bathrooms. The intuition for the effectiveness of the instrument is that the more the housing stock in each location is concentrated in particular characteristics, the more exposed that location will be to shocks to the relative prices of those characteristics. For example, if San Francisco was composed mostly of two-bedroom houses built prior to the 1960s, while Las Vegas has mostly four-bedroom houses built in the early 2000s, then a general increase in the price of larger and newer houses would result in relatively faster house price appreciation in Las Vegas.

To conduct the empirical analysis, James uses large micro-data sets on house prices and household consumption. The house price instrument is constructed using data on millions of individual housing transactions from across the US. Because this data contains information on geography, house characteristics, and house prices, it can be used to construct the composition of house characteristics in each location and to run the hedonic house price regressions that are used to estimate the marginal prices of the house characteristics. Household consumption expenditures are taken from a large panel data set which, among other things, contains information on the location of each household. Each household can then be linked to local house price changes in order to estimate the effect of these prices on their consumption behavior.

James reports IV-estimated average consumption elasticities with respect to house prices in the range of 0.1 to 0.15. These estimates correspond to marginal propensities to consume out of housing wealth of approximately 1.2 to 1.8 cents in the dollar, in line with previous estimates in the literature. Another important contribution of the paper is to show that, when estimating consumption elasticities in a panel data setting, the Bartik instrument performs much better than popular alternative instruments in the literature (e.g. local housing supply elasticities). For instance, the instrument provides significant time-series variation in house prices, while other instruments are mostly only useful in the cross-section.

In their assessment, the adjudicators Professors David Fielding, Alfred Haug, and Dorian Owen noted that James’ paper “is an excellent piece of empirical research.  It is well crafted with great attention to detail, using new data on millions of individual housing transactions across the US. The author developed a novel instrument for house prices in order to overcome endogeneity problems when estimating the relationship between household consumption and house prices. The robustness of the empirical findings is convincingly demonstrated.”

Congratulations to recipients of NZAE Conference 2019 prizes

Congratulations to the following recipients of prizes associated with NZAE Conference 2019. More detail on each prize is available at https://nzae.org.nz/prizes/

David Teece Prize in Industrial Organisation and Firm Behaviour Geoffrey Brooke & Lydia Cheung
New Zealand Economic Policy Prize John Creedy, Nazila Alinaghi & Norman Gemmell
NZIER Poster prize – open Sherry Li
NZIER Poster prize – student Sherry Li
People’s Choice Poster Sherry Li
Jan Whitwell Doctoral Hanna Habibi
Jan Whitwell Bachelors / Masters Livvy Mitchell
Seamus Hogan Research Prize Bronwyn Bruce-Brand
Stata Prize for Excellence in Graphics Communications Geoff Cooper & Kabira Namit
Stats NZ Prize Andrea Menclova & Asaad Ali

What is CGE modelling?

CGE modelling offers a flexible and robust framework to quantify and explain how the economy evolves in response to changes in the economic environment.  Changes in population size and characteristics, investment spending and capital stocks, government spending and taxation policies and changes in the foreign sector are just some of the “policy shocks” that can be investigated.  CGE modelling is a globally popular analytical tool, recognised as the “gold standard” for informing policy formulation and analysis through scenario simulation.

CGE stands for computable general equilibrium – the most basic form of a CGE model is built on neoclassical microfoundations and calibrated using data for the economic area(s) of interest (e.g. national accounts data for a single country model).  The primary advantage of CGE analysis over more traditional and simpler multiplier (input-output) analysis is that CGE models impose supply constraints and therefore relative prices are endogenous and explicitly solved for.

Despite the rich detail and robust underlying theoretical structure of CGE models, their predictive power should not be overstated.  Data for many parameters often does not exist and the model is only calibrated (as opposed to estimated) using the data that is available.  Thus, while CGE models produce quantitative results, their magnitudes should not be relied upon to the extent that econometrically estimated results can be (i.e. to a certain level of statistical significance).

CGE models are most useful when taking a kind of “differences-in-differences” approach (using the term more loosely than in the usual statistical technique sense)   For instance, one might compare the welfare effects on heterogenous households in a region when there is an export boom of a product that is intensively produced in that region under alternative scenarios such as when in-migration of persons in relevant occupational groups (i.e. with relevant skill sets) is allowed or not allowed.  The welfare effects across household types could be quite different in each scenario and would indicate the “winners and losers” of the export boom if in-migration was likely (or unregulated).  Such conclusions would be more reliable and useful than just quoting quantitative model predictions of increases in regional GDP etc. arising from the export boom.

NZAE AGM 4 Jul 2019

The NZAE AGM will be held during the 2019 NZAE Conference on Thursday 4th July 2019 at 1.15 pm in Lecture Room RH105, Rutherford House, Victoria University, 23 Lambton Quay, Wellington.

Note: Conference registration is not necessary for an NZAE member to attend the AGM only.

Please refer to page 19 of the 2018 Annual Report for the AGM Agenda.