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


Dispatches from the Core

We are lucky that, last year, economist Aaron Schiff provided us with an excellent collective noun for a grouping of economists. Owls, in concert, form a parliament. Economists, in convention, form a core. Or at least they hope to. In economics, the ‘core’ is the set of alternatives that cannot be beaten by some option from outside of the set. So a good economics conference will bring together all of the ideas that cannot be beaten by ideas that didn’t... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
7 July, 2018

Paternalism is a lot less annoying when you get to be the paternalist

Paternalism is a lot less annoying when you get to be the paternalist – at home with the kids, as pater- or materfamilias. Let’s begin by acknowledging two basic facts. First up, most things that parents do to try to improve their kids’ long-term fortunes do not work. Meeting a minimal basic standard of loving parenting and not dropping the kids on their heads too often – that matters. Otherwise, it’s hard to find environmental interventions that really work. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
29 June, 2018

Waste not, store that

Dilbert creator Scott Adams likened knowing a bit of economics to having a mild superpower.High among economists’ mild superpowers is the ability to use formal mathematics to define what words mean. Working through the implications often leads to implications that seem counterintuitive but are hard to overturn.It also makes it hard to read documents like Auckland Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.Let’s think about waste and then come back to Auckland’s plan – but we’ll leave the maths to one... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
15 June, 2018
Baby hand

Naming names

In a classic Simpsons episode, Homer teaches a night course on having a successful marriage. Egged on by students wanting ever more details of their private life, Homer errs on the side of pleasing the students but irritating Marge – who kicks him out of the house. A couple of weeks ago, I told you one of the econo-parenting secrets of the Crampton household: sealed-bid tendering for the kids’ chores. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
8 June, 2018

Preparing for the big one

Having a change in government is a bit like moving house.When you pack up the house for a move, you get to take a hard look at a lot of stuff that’s accumulated over the years – things that might have been a mistake to buy in the first place and almost certainly should have been gotten rid of ages ago.It’s an opportunity for clearing out the junk where you don’t really need to admit that you had made a... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
1 June, 2018
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

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