Final Eric Crampton

Dr Eric Crampton

Chief Economist

Dr Eric Crampton is the Chief Economist at The New Zealand Initiative and co-author of The Case for Economic Growth. Dr Crampton served as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Department of Economics & Finance at the University of Canterbury from November 2003 until July 2014. He is also the creator and author of the well-known blog “Offsetting Behaviour”.

Latest reports:
Score! Transforming NCEA Data (2018)
Recipe for disaster: Building policy on shaky ground (2018)
Analog Regulation, Digital World (2017)
The Outside of the Asylum: A New Zealander’s guide to the world out there (2017)
Decade of Debt: The Cost of Interest-free Student Loans (2016)
Deadly Heritage (2016)
In the Zone: Creating a Toolbox for Regional Prosperity (2015)
The Case for Economic Growth (2015)

Phone: +64 4 499 0790


Recent Work


Share the data

Only the officials at Inland Revenue know why they commissioned a poll on Kiwis’ attitudes to tax that included questions about the respondents’ general political orientation. Releasing the polling data should be part of fixing any perceived problems. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
15 February, 2019

Making KiwiBuild Work

Anybody even remotely connected with housing, housing research, the building industry – or with the ability to fog a mirror by breathing on it – had to know it was near-impossible for the government to meet its KiwiBuild promises on its 10-year schedule. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights newsletter
8 February, 2019

Is the $70,000 benchmark for 'high earning’ still acceptable?

New Zealand's tax brackets don't accurately reflect what counts as "high earning" in this country, critics say.Since 2008, the highest personal income tax rate has kicked in on earnings over $70,000 a year. Compare that to Australia, where the highest tax rate of 45 percent takes effect on income of $180,000 a year or more.Eric Crampton tells Mike Yardley on Newstalk ZB why he doesn’t think the $70,000 threshold is still acceptable. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Mike Hosking Breakfast - Newstalk ZB
28 January, 2019

The poverty of inequality reports

Everything has its season. The slow January news period brings Oxfam’s annual condemnation of wealth inequality and calls for redistribution. And every January, economists go through their figures to show that, once again, Oxfam has played fast and loose with the numbers. Oxfam combined Credit Suisse data on the decline in wealth for New Zealand’s least wealthy with Forbes data on the only two Kiwis who made it onto the Forbes list of billionaires. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
25 January, 2019
Budget day2

What does the minimum wage increase mean for the economy?

New Zealand workers on the minimum wage are set for a significant pay rise.The Government has announced it will increase the minimum wage to $17.70 an hour on April 1, with further increases to take it to $20 by 2021.Eric Crampton discusses on Mike Hosking Breakfast what the minimum wage increase means for our economy. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Newstalk ZB - Mike Hosking Breakfast
20 December, 2018

Hard spirits

It was during the discussions of measuring spiritual capital that the ghost of Sir John James Cowperthwaite hovered near. The shade whispered in my ear, “When I was Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, I refused to collect economic statistics for London. Why? For fear that I might be forced to do something about them.” Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
11 December, 2018

Letting us help

Community sponsorship helps Canada accept far more refugees than the government’s quota could accommodate on its own. And it looks promising for New Zealand as well. But scaling the programme to its full potential may require sponsoring communities to pick up a greater share of the cost.During the 2015–16 Syrian refugee crisis, Kiwis wanting to help were stymied by restrictions on the number of refugees allowed into the country. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
7 December, 2018
Lord of the Rings

The war of Gondorean aggression

Desperate to turn away from trivial controversies here in New Zealand about Santa’s true gender, I looked to the British press and found The Times and The Telegraph reporting on claims of racism in J.R.R. Tolkien’s depiction of orcs in The Lord of the Rings. The case is stronger than it might first appear. For that stronger case, we must turn to the truly excellent work of historical fictional reconstruction undertaken by Kirill Yeskov. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
30 November, 2018
Water tap

Surviving the conversation

Unless we are good friends, my picking the restaurant when you are paying the bill can be a recipe for trouble. Central and local government are not always the best of friends. And when central government sets the water quality standards, local government foots the bill. In places with high water-treatment costs, residents might reasonably prefer the occasional boil water notice to hefty rates hikes. Central standards then amount to an unfunded mandate on local councils. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
23 November, 2018

Better horses

Winston Peters’ tax credit for pretty horses fights the wrong battle when it comes to improving New Zealand’s bloodstock. New Zealand has no obvious problem with ugly horses. Maybe farmers keep the ugly horses hidden so townies out for a drive don’t see them, but it seems unlikely. I have yet to see an ugly horse here. They’re all beautiful in their own way. But we do seem to have, dare I say it, cowardly horses. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
9 November, 2018

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