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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.

Vacancy for Principal/Senior Researcher at Productivity Commission closes 6 Sep 2019

THE PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION

Principal/Senior Researcher

Help achieve New Zealand’s productivity potential

The New Zealand Productivity Commission – Te Komihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa – is an independent Crown entity that provides advice to Government on ways to improve productivity to support the wellbeing of New Zealanders. We carry out productivity-related research, conduct in-depth inquiries on topics selected by Government, and undertake a range of activities to promote better understanding of productivity issues.

Our independence, and our reputation for high-quality analysis and meaningful engagement, puts the Commission in a unique position to influence public policy debates. We aim to provide insightful, well-informed and accessible advice that leads to improved economic, social and environmental outcomes for New Zealanders. Our work to date has contributed to significant policy reform.

Key selection criteria: We are looking for an experienced principal/senior researcher for a position within our Economics and Research team. You need to have extensive knowledge of and experience with a range of quantitative research and/or evaluation approaches and methodologies. You would have empirical skills and experience with using large linked administrative datasets, such as the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) or the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD). You should have a postgraduate qualification in economics.

The role offers an opportunity to:

  • help shape an independent research programme relating to major issues impacting on the wellbeing of New Zealanders;
  • provide input to and influence our inquiries;
  • work closely with Commissioners and other leaders in academia, government and business;
  • build a strong publication record;
  • work in a collegial environment that values new ideas and ways of thinking; and
  • work with leaders that will mentor your career and provide opportunities for growth.

The quality of our people is critical to our success. Our people have stellar research, analysis and writing skills, and can turn high-quality analysis into influential policy advice. In turn, we offer an intellectually stimulating, supportive and family friendly workplace.

If you are looking for an opportunity to influence and raise the quality of public debate and policy about the things that matter to New Zealanders, please send a CV and an expression of interest addressing the key selection criteria to careers@productivity.govt.nz.

Applications close 6 September 2019. A copy of the position description can be found at www.productivity.govt.nz/about-us/careers

For further information, feel free to contact our Director of Economics and Research: Patrick Nolan, 04 903 5172.

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.

Call for papers for NZEP special issue on central banking

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.

Submission deadline: 31 December 2019

See attached for more detailNZ Economics Paper_A4_v1

Apr 2019 AI (#64) interviews Barry and Eaqub

Contents

  • Editorial
  • An interview with Phil Barry (by John Yeabsley)
  • The ‘Five Minute Interview’ with Shamubeel Eaqub
  • Blogwatch (by Paul Walker)
  • Relatedness, Complexity and Local Growth (by Benjamin Davies and Dave Maré, Motu)
  • A Hundred years on: Beyond the fighting to the economics (by Ian Duncan)
  • Child Poverty (Stats NZ)
  • NZAE Conference
  • Research in Progress (University of Waikato)
  • WEAI Conference
  • New Members

Registration closing soon for the 9th NZ Macroeconomic Dynamics Workshop

Victoria University of WellingtonThe School of Economics and Finance invites you to attend the 9th NZ Macroeconomic Dynamics Workshop 2019.

See the FINAL PROGRAMME attached. There is no registration fee to attend but for catering purposes please register with Numa Fonoti (Numa.Fonoti@vuw.ac.nz) no later than Friday, 19 April 2019 and include any special dietary requirements.
When:
8.45am – 5.00pm

Friday 26 April, 2019
 

 
Where:
RHMZ03, Mezzanine Level, Rutherford House, Pipitea Campus

23 Lambton Quay

Register now by clicking below and completing your details
Register Now

For other forthcoming events across institutions, see lists here.

Dec 2018 AI (#63) congratulates economists inducted as Royal Society Fellows

Asymmetric Information Issue No. 63

Contents

  • Editorial
  • An interview with Brent Layton (by John Yeabsley)
  • Two new FRSNZs (by Norman Gemmell and Les Oxley
  • The ‘Five Minute Interview’ (Christie Smith)
  • Blogwatch (by Paul Walker)
  • Conference Assistants (by John Yeabsley)
  • Do housing allowances increase rents? Evidence from a discrete policy change (by Dean Hyslop and David Rea, Motu)
  • Hawke on Australasian Economic Thought
  • Research interests at VUW

Last Call for Papers at NZAE Annual Conference July 2019 Wellington

Last Call for Papers
60th New Zealand Association of Economists Annual Conference
To be held at Victoria University of Wellington
3, 4, 5 July 2019 (Wed, Thurs, Fri)

The New Zealand Association of Economists is pleased to announce the Last Call for Papers for its 60th Annual Conference. Abstracts can be submitted here by 1 April.

See attached for more information: nzae2019_ last _call_for_papers

First Call for Papers at NZAE Annual Conference July 2019 Wellington

First Call for Papers:
60th New Zealand Association of Economists Annual Conference
To be held at Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 3, 4, 5 July 2019 (Wed, Thurs, Fri)
Abstracts can be submitted here. (See attached for more information)

NZAE PhD Student Workshop, 2019

For whom: PhD students in Economics who are either New Zealand-based or are New Zealand students studying abroad. Preference will be given to PhD students in the first two years of their studies who register for the NZAE conference.
When: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
Where: Wellington TBC (See attached for more information)

Stata Prize for Excellence in Graphics Communication

The Stata Prize for Excellence in Graphics Communications will be awarded to the written paper that is deemed to make the best use of graphs for data visualization or communication of research findings using graphics. The papers will be judged by leading empirical researchers in economics. (See attached for more information and conditions of entry)

Please address conference enquiries to:

Ian Duncan or Shelley Haring (contact details in attached)

NZAE_2019_first_call_for_papers

2018 NZEP Issue 3 includes analysis of NZ rich list

The contents of New Zealand Economic Papers, Volume 52, Issue 3, 2018 (available online or by subscription):

  • Monetary, prudential and fiscal policy: how much coordination is needed? by Stephen G. Cecchetti
  • Inflation expectations and low inflation in New Zealand by Özer Karagedikli & C. John McDermott
  • The New Zealand rich list twenty years on by Tim Hazledine & Max Rashbrooke
  • Modal shift for New Zealand shippers for various policy scenarios by Hyun Chan Kim, Diana Kusumastuti & Alan Nicholson
  • The marginal welfare cost of personal income taxation in New Zealand by John Creedy & Penny Mok

Call for applications for A R Bergstrom Prize in Econometrics

NOTE: APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED.

Applications are now being sought for the A R Bergstrom Prize in Econometrics, 2019.

The objective of the Prize is to reward the achievement of excellence in econometrics, as demonstrated by a research paper in any area of econometrics. The Prize is open to New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand who, on the closing date of applications, have current or recent (i.e. within two years) student status for a higher degree. It is intended that the awardee will utilise the proceeds to assist in financing further study or research in econometrics in New Zealand or overseas.

The Prize can be awarded once every two years, with a value of NZ$1,000 (NB Payment will be to a domestic New Zealand bank account in the name of the prize winner). The selection panel will be appointed by the A R Bergstrom Prize Committee.

Applications/nominations must include:

  • a formal letter of application and, in the case of students, a letter of nomination by their research adviser or chairperson
  • a research paper written by a single author, reporting original research in any area of econometrics
  • a CV and relevant academic transcripts

Applications should be emailed by Friday 15 February 2019 to:
Dr. Leo Krippner ( leo.krippner@rbnz.govt.nz )

See NZAE page for further information on the prize.

Congratulations to recipients of NZAE prizes in 2018

Congratulations to the following recipients of prizes presented at NZAE Conference 2018. More detail on each prize is available at https://nzae.org.nz/prizes/

David Teece Prize in Industrial Organisation and Firm Behaviour Richard Meade
New Zealand Economic Policy Prize Jed Armstrong, Hayden Skilling & Fang Yao
NZIER Poster prize – open Hanna Habibi
NZIER Poster prize – student Hanna Habibi
People’s choice poster Samuel Verevis
Jan Whitwell Doctoral Yaxiong (Sherry) Li
Jan Whitwell Bachelors / Masters Ben Davies
Seamus Hogan Research Prize Sally Owen
Statistics NZ prize Isabelle Bouchard, Lydia Cheung & Gail Pacheco