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


Digging data to find NCEA scores

If you wanted to know how well New Zealand’s education system and Kiwi students were doing, you really wouldn’t want to start with NCEA data. Getting a comparative assessment of students’ strengths was never the point of NCEA. The whole system seems designed to frustrate anybody wanting a simple statistic gauging a student’s overall performance. But we need decent measures of student performance if we want to answer even fairly simple questions. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
16 March, 2018
Graduate diploma1

New measure for NCEA

NCEA completion rates have been increasing, with more children than ever earning an NCEA diploma, but New Zealand’s performance on international benchmarks in numeracy and literacy has been flat or declining. Co-author Eric Crampton discusses on Radio Ngati Porou our new report Score! Transforming NCEA Data, in which he argues that we need better student performance measures than NCEA completion rates. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Radio Ngati Porou
14 March, 2018

Sunsets are beautiful

Policy analysis is like a lot of other project work. It can be good, it can be fast, and it can be cheap – but it cannot be all three. You have to pick two. And that is a problem when an incoming government wants to make a lot of policy changes on a hundred-day clock. Policies are meant to be accompanied by impartial and rigorous assessments from the Ministries, or from Treasury. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
9 March, 2018

Why a sugar tax won't reduce obesity

37 Documents released under the OIA reveal a Ministry of Health deeply skeptical about sugar taxes. The internal advice within the Ministry highlighted the same problems with sugar taxes as we mentioned in our 2016 report The Health of the State. Eric Crampton explains on Newstalk ZB why a sugar tax won't reduce obesity in New Zealand.  Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Mike Hosking Breakfast - Newstalk ZB
2 March, 2018

All good Jedi

Now is the time for all good Jedi to come to the aid of their country.In the classic Cold War film, Dr Strangelove reminded us that it is pointless for a country to have a doomsday device if it is kept secret.While the Cold War ended more than a quarter century ago, turmoil has engulfed the international community.American taxation of trade routes to outlying countries like New Zealand is in dispute after it abandoned the Pacific’s Trade Federation.China’s National Assembly... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
2 March, 2018

Build the rules, and the houses will follow

The housing supply shortage is worse than expected. That makes it even more important that government focuses on the key barriers to getting more houses built. Perhaps counterintuitively, that may mean putting Kiwibuild to the side.  Last week, Phil Twyford announced the results of his commissioned stocktake on the housing crisis. The results are damning. The growth in housing stock since 2012 has been far too low. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
23 February, 2018

Eric Crampton discusses the economics of ticket scalping

Celine Dion's two Auckland shows have sold out, thanks to ticket scalpers. General release tickets went on sale midday Monday and sold out hours later, with tickets appearing on resale sites immediately at double the price. Eric Crampton talks to Kate Hawkesby on Newstalk ZB about the economics of ticket scalping. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Early Edition - Newstalk ZB
20 February, 2018
Traffic jam

The new and the good

James Shaw’s State of the Planet speech called for a new economic model – sustainability economics – to meet environmental and equity challenges ahead. While his call comes from the left, it reminded me of earlier criticisms of mainstream economics from the right. When I was in graduate school in the late ‘90s, a new thousand-page economics textbook was making the rounds. While the text’s fans claimed that its revolutionary free-market approach was needed to solve problems in the existing... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
9 February, 2018
Economic growth

What has economic growth ever done for us?

It’s too easy to take things for granted. In Monty Python’s classic Life of Brian, John Cleese’s Reg asked what the hated Romans had ever done for the people of Judea – and was rather annoyed to hear a long list of things like medicine, sanitation, education, wine, irrigation and more. Economic growth gets a similarly bad rap. Last week, Greens leader James Shaw urged new economic models that balanced economic, environmental and social outcomes, while explicitly emphasising poverty reduction... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
2 February, 2018

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