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


From Kiwibuild to Kiwis Building

At its heart, Kiwibuild was a promise to end the housing crisis. The set of reforms Minister Twyford is overseeing can fulfil that promise, if he has the chance to see them through.The housing crisis has nothing to do with government failing to build enough homes. It stems instead from a nasty mess of perverse incentives facing growing councils, debt limits, infrastructure financing problems, and difficulty in revising district plans under RMA processes – as a starting point.If the prior... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
14 June, 2019

The rot at treasury started years ago

If the Canterbury earthquakes taught us anything, it’s that the immediate response to a disaster is a very different thing from the rebuilding that has to follow.Disaster response is about triage, the good-enough, and avoiding substantial further harm. The rebuild is different. It takes a fair bit of thought about what the place should look like, and a long-term strategy to get there. In the best case, the long-term vision has always been in place and all that needs to... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The Spinoff
7 June, 2019

Closing the loop depends on delivering wellbeing

There are a lot of promising initiatives in the coalition Government's first "Wellbeing" Budget. But delivering on that promise requires closing a currently open loop in the wellbeing policy process. We need evaluation to help us tell which of the Government's initiatives have proven most successful, and Budget 2019 delivered far less than we might have hoped for on that front. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The Dominion Post
31 May, 2019
Budget 2022

Delivering Wellbeing

The Wellbeing Budget came in the government’s proclaimed year of delivery. But whether this budget will deliver the wellbeing outcomes everyone has been led to expect is a bit up in the air. While the wellbeing policy process highlighted by Minister Robertson emphasises the importance of evidence-driven policy, and of policy evaluation, Budget 2019 was far weaker on evaluation than we might have hoped. Policy evaluation matters. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
31 May, 2019
Policy Point Biting education bullets cover4

Policy Point: Biting education bullets

As teachers prepare to leave the classroom on strike, The New Zealand Initiative proposes a potential solution to the seemingly impossible impasse. Dr Eric Crampton argues in his Policy Point Biting education bullets that Minister Hipkins is in a thoroughly unenviable position. He says providing a pay increase sufficient to attract and retain the best teachers would blow out the budget if offered to all 60,000 existing teachers. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
28 May, 2019
Game of thrones winter

“Winter is Coming”

Being an economist is great. But there is a downside. A lot of people wind up annoyed by some parts of fantasy worlds in books and movies, but economists get annoyed by very different things.HBO’s Game of Thrones finally ended this week. The last two seasons brought increasing fan annoyance: the plotting and pace made far less sense than in prior seasons.For those who haven’t followed, Game of Thrones largely takes place on the continent of Westeros, in a fantasy... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
24 May, 2019
fish netting

Ecosytem protection from the bottom up

Professor Gary Libecap is something of a god in economics. In a prior life, I would tell my undergraduate students about the pantheon of the Econ Gods. Libecap’s work in environmental economics easily put him in the pantheon. It has also made him Distinguished Professor of Corporate Environmental Management and Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCSB. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
20 May, 2019
Water tap2

Valuing the priceless

New Zealand’s freshwater management is in need of a refresh. The kinds of systems that work for allocating and managing water when water is abundant are not the systems that work when water becomes increasingly scarce. And increasing pressure on our aquifers and rivers has made water increasingly scarce in places like Canterbury. The problem is well-recognised. We have had decades of reports telling us of the looming problems, not only in water abstraction (taking water from the aquifers and... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
10 May, 2019
Cover for Outreach

Refreshing Water: Valuing the priceless

New Zealand deserves far better water management. Scores of newspaper articles and rigorous reports lay out the problems in the current system. Too much water is being drawn in some catchments, to the detriment of aquifers and rivers. Management of contaminants flowing into the rivers is haphazard and too-often poor. While agricultural runoff into rivers and streams has drawn much attention, urban areas are far from blameless. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
7 May, 2019

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