Professor Jacques Poot - 2013 Economics Award winner


The NZIER Economic Award's Operating Guidelines enjoin the Awarding Panel to "look for outstanding contributions to the advancement of economics and its applications in New Zealand". To qualify for the Award, a contribution “must advance economic matters of direct relevance to New Zealand and must be likely to be of long-term lasting importance to New Zealand.

Population dynamics and migration flows have critical influences on the evolution of labour markets, on the volatility of business cycles and housing markets, and on regional and economy-wide economic growth and development. New Zealand's economic history has been characterised by volatile migration flows, and by large internal migration movements that have had an important influence on the acquisition and loss of labour market skills, on regional development, the development of our cities, and on asset prices, particularly house prices. The recipient of the 2013 Award has, for more than 30 years, pursued the study of population change, economic aspects of migration, trans-Tasman migration and regional development, and has made important contributions that have dealt with “economic matters of direct relevance to New Zealand”.

His contributions to understanding population change and regional development have improved our understanding of the spatial dimensions of employment change, and of how demographic change and regional competitiveness are connected. He has developed stochastic models for regional population projections and models to support long-term regional planning. His research has improved our understanding of the relationships between international trade and migration, the labour market impacts of migration, the effects of migration on income growth and income convergence, the creation of relationship capital, and international travel. His research has significantly advanced our understanding of the determinants of trans-Tasman migration and its influence on labour markets and economic development in Australasia.

An outstanding feature of the work of this year's recipient is that while his research has focused particularly on New Zealand, his work has attracted world-wide interest. He has held visiting positions in Australia, the United States and the Netherlands, and has twice been appointed Foreign Professor at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. He is an adjunct Professor in the Department of Spatial Economics at VU University Amsterdam, an associate of the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at University College London, and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn. His empirical research is characterised by the application of advanced econometric techniques to answer questions of contemporary importance to demography and spatial economics. He is a leading international contributor to the development and application of meta-analysis and is himself one of the most cited economists internationally in his field. He is an elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Academia Europaea.

Throughout his career, he has invested in the development of the economics profession and provided effective institutional leadership. He has been a successful university teacher and supervisor of New Zealand and European graduate students. He is a highly respected editor of prestigious academic journals, is a section editor for the Springer Handbook of Regional Science, is on the editorial boards of several international journals, has been a tireless organiser of conferences and research workshops, and has been a referee for many of the leading academic journals in economics, demography and regional science. As Professor, and Director of the Population Studies Centre, at the University of Waikato he has played a key role in reinforcing the international standing of this important New Zealand research institution.

The recipient of this year’s award has, throughout his career, been an important contributor to forging links between the research community and public policy. His published work, and his frequent participation in expert groups established by, for example, the Department of Labour, Statistics New Zealand and the Treasury, have been influential in helping improve public officials’ understanding of population dynamics, migration and regional development.

The Awarding Panel was in no doubt that the recipient’s work is an outstanding contribution to the advancement of economics and its applications in New Zealand, and will be of long-term lasting importance.

The NZIER Economics Award for 2013 is accordingly given to Professor Jacques Poot.

Professor Jacques Poot's acceptance speech.