Tuesday 12 July 2011

A post about serious issues

After haranguing TVHE’s Rauparaha at the recent NZAE conference for TVHE’s lack of recent activity, Rauparaha has shamed me by posting about the conference while I have been a.w.o.l. from blogging. So here, belatedly, is a report.
As a member of the organising committee, I can’t pretend to be an unbiased commentator on the quality of the conference, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I hope others did too. I found that the range and quality of papers was very high. Maybe the incentive effects of having some $6,500 of prizes for best papers and posters to give away is having some effect. The downside is that there were many cases where I would have liked to have been in two places at once. Fortunately, most of the papers that were presented can be downloaded from the association’s website. One paper that I could not get to but that looks really good was the winner of the inaugural New Zealand Economic Policy Prize, KiwiSaver: An Initial Evaluation of the Impact on Retirement Saving, by Grant Scobie, David Law, and Lisa Meehan. There was also a session of outstanding papers in Land and Natural Resources, but that session was on at the same time as Eric and Des O’Dea were presenting in the “costs to society” session. That session was packed out, probably as people were expecting some entertaining exchanges between Eric and Des, but they were in complete agreement.

For the second year in a row, I was talking about electricity markets, but as this is a post about serious issues, I’ll describe that paper in a separate post. Next year I plan to be back on the more interesting area of an economic analysis of cricket.
Speaking of next year, the 2012 conference is going to be in Hamilton (June 27-29). I believe this is the first time we have gone to Hamilton—certainly it is the first time for a while. It will be interesting to see if we can maintain our recent high participation rates In the past couple of years, we have had very good representation from academia (at least, from the South Island universities) and from economists in government agencies, but less involvement from the private sector. We survey conference participants after each conference to find out what they liked and what we could do better, but it would also be nice to get feedback from those who don’t attend. If you are in the private sector and are not a regular attendee at our annual bun fight, what would entice you to come along?


  1. Des is decent. But I had rather a lot of fun needling the ACC guy over his continued backing of the BERL study. His complete and utter inability to say a damned thing in BERL's defence other than "we don't agree with your analysis" was awfully fun.

  2. Way to go Eric, stick it to those BERL folks. I know next to nothing about economics but even for this ill-informed layman their methods and assumptions seem a tad flawed.

    I am intrigued by your proposed economic analysis of cricket. I may not know economics, but have long been a fan of the thwack of leather on willow. I'm not sure if you are planning on touching on the unholy blight that is match fixing, but that for me has greatly undermined my enjoyment of the game, as well as the faith in the outcome of any match involving any of the sides from the sub-continent. Yes, that is where the true political and economic power in the game lies, with India especially being able to attract massive crowds and TV revenue, and this will only become more apparent as the burgeoning Indian middle class grows and prospers. I would love to see the insidious cancer of match fixing/spot fixing done away with, for I fear if it isn't the game, on a global scale, will lose much of its lustre. Sadly the ICC seems powerless and unwilling to stamp out corruption in the sport, most likely because they are in it up to the eyeballs themselves. Sad :(

  3. Sorry Lats, I don't have match fixing on my radar. Likely topics for next year are
    i) an analysis of when it pays to use a nightwatchman in test cricket, and when is the optimal time to take the new ball; and
    ii) how does umpire and player behaviour change as a result of the URDS?

  4. Apologies Seamus, didn't check the author before I fired off my reply. Slight embarrassment...