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

Kid dish

Outsourcing to the kids

I know that people who aren’t economists manage to raise kids and that it all seems to work out in the end, but I’m not entirely sure how. I have learned that standard practice in the Crampton household diverges a bit from practice elsewhere. So gaze in awe, or horror, at our system for managing the more irksome household chores. Some chores, the kids are happy to do just as part of being happy members of the family – and... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
25 May, 2018
Budget 2018

Better fiscal futures

The two most exciting items in this year’s budget barely even made it into the budget tables. Both point toward better fiscal futures.First up, Hon James Shaw announced that the government will this year start work on a new independent fiscal council.Last year’s election was dominated by whether there was a $12 billion hole in Labour’s proposed spending programme. That debate was always going to be sterile. Any coalition would pick up some of the policies and drop others. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
18 May, 2018
New Zealand river

Getting the kludge out of the rivers

Kludges are short-term fixes that can patch things over until the main problem can be addressed. If the latch for the rear hatch on your people-mover breaks, a kludge that ties it shut until you can get it to the garage for repairs is just the thing.But kludges should not be permanent solutions.There is a lot of kludge in New Zealand’s lakes and rivers. It is in the aquifers too.Environment Minister David Parker this week pointed to a lot of... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
11 May, 2018
Classroom Chairs

Learning nothing in education

The best thing about the National government was its focus on evaluation.Finance Minister English often reminded us a large portion of government spending was probably wasted. Figuring out what worked and what did not would let the government shift resources to get the most value out of every dollar spent.Mr English’s investment approach coupled big data analytics with policy experimentation to find ways of improving the lives of those receiving government services and transfers while also improving the government’s long-term... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
27 April, 2018

Foreign advice on foreign buyers

The International Monetary Fund has concluded its 2018 visit to New Zealand, checking with a broad range of stakeholders on how things are going here. Executive Director Oliver Hartwich and I were happy to share our views with them last week. We argued that the most pressing issue facing New Zealand is housing. In addition to the obvious problems caused by housing shortages, they also fuel xenophobia. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
20 April, 2018

The foreign buyer ban is an abomination. Bad in principle, worse in practice

There is not a shred of evidence the prohibition on foreign property buyers will alleviate the housing crisis. It is popu, argues economist Eric Crampton.One of the things that think tank chief economists get to do is have a yarn with travelling delegations from international organisations checking in on how things are going in New Zealand. One that we talked with this past month was puzzled about how New Zealand wound up with such an odd ban on foreign home... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The Spinoff
17 April, 2018

Storm brewing in country’s power markets

The autumn storm that took out parts of Auckland’s power grid last week spared Wellington. The weather in the capital remained relatively calm – or at least no worse than any other wintry day. But storms are not the only threat to the grid. Policy decisions in Wellington can be a threat as well, if pricing models do not keep up with technological change. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The Dominion Post
16 April, 2018

Transport calculation in a world without prices

The biggest lesson of 20th Century economics is that it is hard to get anything right if prices are wrong. It is high time that lesson were applied to transport.From the 1920s through the 1940s, economists pointed out the difficulties in running centrally planned economies. If prices do not emerge from the interplay of consumers and producers in markets, somebody has to set those prices. And if those prices are wrong, everything else starts going wrong.If you do not know... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
6 April, 2018

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