National Business Review

Abolish the Nobel Prize for economics

The economics Nobel Prize is a funny thing. Not just because it does not exist. When Alfred Nobel donated his fortune to the awards in his name, he included Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace and Medicine. Economics, meanwhile, only got included when the Swedish central bank established the prize “in memory of Alfred Nobel” in the late 1960s. [...]

Housing shortage will get worse

It is good to see housing high on the policy agenda. That is where it should be. As anyone with a stake in the housing market knows, there is a massive undersupply of housing. This is what is responsible for high and rising prices. [...]

Mind the trans-Tasman tax gap

Plans to increase the top rate of income tax may be good populist policy - they may even win elections. But they would be a sure disaster for the New Zealand economy by robbing us of one of our key competitive advantages over Australia. [...]

Stopping the growth of government

Shrinking government spending and government debt is vital if we want future generations to enjoy prosperous lives. Unfortunately, given the mechanisms of representative democracy in an ageing society, this looks like an impossible task. [...]

Time to go local

Two things are an anathema to free-market economists: government intervention and monopolies. And one thing is even worse: When public services are provided by a central government monopolist. [...]

Bilateral trade deals create winners and losers

Bilateral deals such as TPP and TTIP complicate the world trade situation and create concrete winners and losers. Whereas free trade allows different hm to compete across national boundaries and allows countries with different absolute and comparative advantages to benefit, competing protectionist blocks trade on political and economic clout. [...]

The man who ruined a government

Sometimes Australia seems an odd country indeed. Kevin Rudd’s elevation to the Australian Labor Party (ALP) leadership last week after three years spent undermining his own leader, colleagues and political party, is the latest astonishing development. [...]

Relevant statistics you can trust

If you have not noticed it yet, 2013 is the International Year of Statistics. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Statistics New Zealand invited me to speak at a breakfast event on the trustworthiness of statistics. [...]

Why tourism offers best opportunities for future growth

At least in principle, there is widespread agreement that New Zealand should aim to increase its exports – whether you subscribe to the government’s target of 40% of GDP by 2025 or not. There is less agreement on how such an exports boost could be realistically achieved and which sectors are most likely to drive it. This holds especially true for New Zealand’s second largest exports industry (after dairy): tourism. [...]

Opposition power plan unplugged

As economists are aware, regulating network industries is fiendishly difficult. No matter where you stand on the single-buyer model and whether it could be made to work, shocking markets and investors with populist proposals (provoking equally populist responses) is not the way to go about it. [...]