Friday 5 July 2013

I don't know who you are, but I like what you're doing!

Via a tweet from the Productivity Commission, I find a new NZ economics blog! I don't know who Donal is, but he's doing good work. I'm adding him* to Feedly.

Here he posts on the productivity symposium. Sectoral productivity in Oz is far ahead of us, it's mostly down to multifactor productivity and higher capital intensity there.
Geoff Mason from the UK's National Institute of Economics and Social Research, presented some highly detailed comparisons of sectoral productivity in New Zealand and Australia. For most industries, Australia is well ahead: on average we achieve only 62% of Australia's labour productivity. Geoff's been able to pinpoint how much is down to, broadly speaking, better ways of doing things in Australia ('multi factor productivity'), which explains 58% of the difference; how much is down to Australians working with more capital equipment than we do (39%); and how much is down to higher skill levels in Australia (very little, as it happens, only 3%).
If our labour productivity is only 62% of that in Oz, achieving wage parity with Oz would be rather destructive for overall employment.

Here he notes an insanity of the Overseas Investment Act: a land swap for an Auckland golf club has to route via the OIO because Fletcher's is majority foreign owned.

Here he gives a useful primer for those unfamiliar with the Stats NZ website and using Infoshare.

Here he excoriates the Greens' moneyprinting dreams. As he independently came to the same conclusion that Matt and I had, I conclude that he is very insightful.

Here he wonders why supermarkets bar arbitrage in baby formula. My working hypothesis has been that Fonterra underprices for the domestic market to avoid political pressure on other fronts; this breaks down where consumers then just ship the baby formula off to China.

Here's a wonderful anecdote about our GST.

Here he discusses firm pricing decisions in NZ. My take: maintaining parallel importing is especially important here!

Welcome to the NZ Econ Blogosphere, Donal, whoever you are! The full list, in case you've interested:
Update: And don't forget!
* Update: I originally followed the Google profile here that said "she", at least as of 5 July. Mike in comments below suggested he. I now expect that the author is Donal Curtin and have corrected the gender snafu. Update 2: Email confirmation: it's Donal Curtin. Welcome Donal!


  1. Yah! I'll add this to the blogroll over at TVHE as well.

  2. I was going by the Google Profile, which says "Female".

    About me
    Gender Female
    Occupation Economist
    Introduction Based in Auckland, with extensive experience as macroeconomist, financial journalist, director, and economic regulator

  3. looks like Donal Curtin if you ask me - with a bit of misdirection thrown in....

  4. Also James Hogan at
    Could post more often, though.