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  • Commit to quit - NZIER Insight 35

    18 May 2012

    Breaking an addiction is difficult: only about 3% of smokers who go cold turkey manage to successfully quit. New research by behavioural economists shows that getting people to make a financial bet on their success could lift those rates by over half again. Economists at NZIER think it's an option that should be considered as the government aims to achieve a smoke-free nation by 2025. 

  • Canterbury after the earthquakes, April 2012 update - NZIER Insight 34

    18 April 2012

    The Canterbury earthquakes have disrupted lives and the economy. This Insight brings together key economic indicators to provide a second snapshot of the economic disruption.  We find encouraging signs of stabilisation.

  • A shallower recovery - Consensus Forecasts, March 2012

    19 March 2012

    The recovery will be shallower than previously thought, according to the NZIER Consensus Forecasts. The economy will still grow; accelerating from 1.8% in the year ending March 2012 to 3.2% by 2014.

  • Seven years lost - NZIER Insight 33

    14 March 2012

    Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (In search of lost time) inspired the Proust index in The Economist newspaper of 25 February 2012. The Economist looked across a number of economic measures to see how far back countries have slipped since the global economic crisis. We replicated the Proust index for New Zealand. The recession has cost us dear. In economic terms, New Zealand is now back in 2005.

  • Grow for it - How population policies can can promote economic growth, NZIER working paper 2012/1

    27 January 2012

    By John Yeabsley

    New Zealand struggles to grow its economy partially due to its small size and remote location. There is little that can be done to change location, but the size can be increased over time. It is feasible to adopt a population policy with the aim of the population reaching 15 million in the next 50 years – an annual growth rate of 2.5% per annum. This would bring the size and density of the population to levels closer to more prosperous European countries. Fifteen million – two and a half times current projections – is a good target, too, as it allows for several large cities, fostering competition within New Zealand.

  • Lower growth for longer - Consensus Forecasts, December 2011

    12 December 2011

    The recovery will slower than previously thought, according to the NZIER Consensus Forecasts. But the economy will still grow: 2.2% in the year ending March 2012 and then accelerate to 3.0% in 2013 and 2014. The Canterbury reconstruction will be a key driver, with the rest of the economy growing more modestly, averaging 2.2% over the next three years.

  • Economics like there’s no tomorrow - NZIER Insight 32

    02 December 2011

    Do you get the sense that New Zealand doesn’t invest in the major public infrastructure facilities like we used to? Previous generations built entire networks for rail, road, water and energy. Only Muldoon’s Think Big projects and the current ‘Roads of National Significance’ might compare. 

    Major infrastructure investment decisions come down to how much we care about our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren. The government’s social discount rate policy captures in a single number how much decision makers care about the future relative to today. The default public sector stance is to use an 8% real (i.e. net of inflation) discount rate. But is 8% right?

  • Be a whizz at writing a RIS - NZIER Insight 31

    18 November 2011

    This Insight discusses the common pitfalls with undertaking policy development and ultimately writing a snappy, easy to follow RIS.

  • Canterbury after the earthquakes - NZIER Insight 30

    08 November 2011

    The Canterbury earthquakes have disrupted lives and the economy. This Insight brings together key economic indicators to provide a snapshot of the economic disruption. The true cost of the disaster will not be known for some time. The immediate clean-up and reconstruction is boosting demand in certain sectors like utilities, construction, safety, healthcare and social assistance. These have not fully offset reduced activity in other sectors.

  • How useful are QSBO performance indices? - NZIER working paper 2011/6

    04 November 2011

    Performance indices are used worldwide as indicators of activity in key sectors to assist analysts and decision-makers. An advantage of these indices is that, by pooling information from the series that make up the indices, idiosyncratic variation is smoothed out, and a stable and potentially more robust indicator of direction is constructed.

    Our study shows that individual sector diffusion indices from the QSBO are both good coincidental and leading indicators of economic activity.

  • QSBO as a forecasting tool - NZIER working paper 2011/5

    19 October 2011

    NZIER’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) contains a 50 year history of business opinion. While its predictive capabilities are well known, there are many more applications that can be pursued using QSBO data. This paper investigates one application, using the QSBO to forecast GDP and inflation up to four quarters ahead of official data releases.

  • Review of export elasticities - NZIER working paper 2011/4

    13 October 2011

    Assumptions on export elasticities can have a big impact on CGE model results, especially at the industry level. Export elasticities measure the responsiveness of demand for a country’s exports to a change in the world price. The greater the elasticity, the greater the change in export demand following a price shift.  We find that the size of the export elasticities has an important impact on the magnitude of Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling results. We use CGE models to assess the impacts of shocks, such as a major policy change, on measures of welfare like real consumption or GDP. The export elasticity determines the amount of export revenue for a given change in export volumes. The change in revenue flows through the economy and influences measures of welfare like real consumption or GDP. The scale of the elasticities can have a material impact on these results. The results, in turn, influence whether a policy or event is thought to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for an economy. Understanding where these elasticities came from, how robust they are, and how they might be re-estimated is therefore important.

  • China’s economic rise Direct, indirect and induced impacts on the New Zealand economy

    07 October 2011

    Speech to Public Symposium on New Zealand, Australia and China‟s rise. The symposium was organised by Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand and the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, held at Victoria University of Wellington on 7 April 2011.

  • Industry productivity and the Australia-New Zealand income gap - NZIER working paper 2011/3

    30 September 2011

    Differences in productivity explain much of the growing income gap between Australia and New Zealand. Good policy responses rely on understanding the sources of these differences. Seventy percent of the aggregate gap in productivity between the two countries is due to underperformance of New Zealand’s industries rather than a difference in the industrial structure of the two countries. Our findings support the idea of studying and tackling the root causes of productivity differences at the sectoral level. The significant differences in multifactor productivity also indicate the need for more focus on the quality of labour, capital, and management, and regulatory environment.  

  • Unskilled people set up for a lifetime of little work

    28 September 2011

    Unemployment in the most recent recession never reached the hurtful heights of the early 1990s. It is now hovering around 6.5 percent. This is not scary by international standards. But the headline figure obscures an uncomfortable fact.  The unemployment rate among those without formal qualifications is about 10.5 percent.

  • Resilient despite global risks - Consensus Forecasts, September 2011

    19 September 2011

    Economists expect resilience despite global risks. New Zealand economists on average believe the economy is set to recover, in part due to reconstruction of Canterbury. Global fears do not appear to have impacted on New Zealand economists’ expectations much as yet. Economic growth forecasts have been revised up a touch for the next two years, according to the latest NZIER Consensus Forecasts Survey. Economic growth will accelerate from 1.5% in the year ending March 2011 to 2.6% in 2012 and 3.7% in 2013. The Canterbury reconstruction will be the major driver, with a more modest recovery elsewhere.

  • No bias in pump price movements up or down - NZIER Insight 29

    15 September 2011

    Petrol prices have been rising in recent weeks. It may feel like petrol prices at the pump move up faster and further than they fall, but we find there is no empirical evidence to support this. Prices fall as quick and as far as they rise when crude oil prices change.

  • A brief history of the QSBO : 1961-2011 - NZIER working paper 2011/2

    18 August 2011

    NZIER’s Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) is one of New Zealand’s leading economic indicators. March 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the QSBO. The QSBO provides data driven insights into how firms are responding to current economic events. Due to its reliability and responsiveness compared to related official statistics, the QSBO has become a key indicator for businesses and policy-makers. Over the past 50 years a significant number of New Zealand economists have contributed to the evolution of the QSBO.

  • Flowing on from the NPS - NZIER Insight 28

    22 July 2011

    The National Policy Statement (NPS) on Freshwater Management is a good first step, but it may leave local authorities in the dark about how to meet its intent.

  • Consensus Forecasts, June 2011

    13 June 2011

    Constructive outlook Economic forecasters are more optimistic. Economic growth forecasts have been revised up a touch for the next two years, according to the latest NZIER Consensus Forecasts Survey.