Wednesday , October 27 2021
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Offsetting Behaviour

This New Zealand based economics blog was created by two economists, Eric Crampton and Seamus Hogan. They explore a range of fascinating topics from sports economics to housing and much more. Sharp and easy to follow analysis.

Core business for a central bank

Inflation hit 2.2% in the most recent quarter. Not the annual rate - the rate for the quarter. Arguably, Reserve Banks shouldn't be making statements about inflation outside of the scheduled monetary policy schedule. But it seemed a bit odd that the Bank put out a release on establishing the Māori Bankers Rōpū to coincide with the release of the inflation statistics.  They came out within minutes of each other, as though the Bank were saying "Yes, the CPI numbers are out today, but here's...

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The Frank Tay Scholarship

Frank was retiring as I joined the Economics Department at Canterbury in 2003. He'd still visit the Department for seminars and to catch up with colleagues. His article in the inaugural issue of NZ Economics Papers set the tone for the next several decades of excellence at Canterbury: professional training in economics requires at least an Honours qualification, with appropriate rigor all the way through. Alfred Guender had an excellent interview with Frank a few years back. He's since...

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Held to ransom by the unvaccinated

It is not a pleasant calculus.New Zealand apparently really only has 186 fully staffed ICU beds. The rest is potential surge capacity with staff who've had only short bootcamp training. Vaccinated people can still catch Covid, but they're very unlikely to wind up in ICU. Alberta's population is a bit smaller than New Zealand's: 4.4m to our 5.1m. They put up all their vaccine outcome stats, from their very large ongoing outbreak.Just look at the numbers here. Let's imagine everyone were fully...

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Morning roundup

 The morning's worthies:Dileepa Fonseca still on target on Covid testing. Supply shortages in construction as far as the eye can see (Newsroom, $). All of the Covid messes are running up against a sector that geared up for the amount of construction that had been allowed (not much) and that has to expand as Auckland allows more growth and as the NPS-UD starts kicking in (though there is much yet to do in enabling growth - see the last bullet). Employer vaccine mandates remain a legal mess...

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No accountability in Covid-land

Dileepa Fonseca has more on the latest installment of the Rako saga.I know I've been going on about this since last December. But it really matters. If you can't get accurate test results quickly back to people in a pandemic, you're always going to be well behind the curve. Contact tracing is a mess of too-little capacity. Pinning down cases quickly makes that job easier. Fast results, and especially if collection is unobtrusive, reduces test hesitancy. If you have to self-isolate for days...

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Morning roundup

 Ok. It's down to one Chrome sheet. The worthies!Wokeness as Saddam statues. Great story on how Saddam Hussein might not have even wanted all those statues of him, but lower-level officials would ramp themselves up in demonstrating allegiance. The mechanism does go back a distance; Mark Twain described a similar one back in Connecticut Yankee.Months ago, we'd called for just giving residence to everyone who's been here since the March 2020 lockdown. The government's alternative misses a few...

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Sellotape IT systems and covid testing

I'd struggled to understand why the government would be blocking Rako's access to the Covid test tracking system. Surely, even if they hated Rako, they'd want to get results reported in for their own tracking purposes. Dileepa Fonseka has a potential explanation. The IT systems, like most government IT systems, are a disaster.The Government is struggling to meet its existing border worker testing obligations, allegedly thanks to IT systems “held together by sellotape”.There have been growing...

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Morning roundup

There are 5 different Chrome windows, each chocka. I can't do every bit justice. So, a roundup while I try closing maybe 2 of them.Superb news. Finally. The government is starting to be a bit more flexible about safe alternatives to MIQ. I like how Australia still thinks big. Here's Stephen Kirchner making the case for a large increase in immigration.There's a claim that carbon farming, via forest sequestration, starts being costly after a century. I'm still not convinced. If carbon prices...

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Google and the provision of public goods

Anything that makes the Android operating system more valuable to users is good for Google. More people taking up the Android platform means more people in the Google universe, using their apps, seeing the ads that they sell. They have rather decent inventive to do awesome things for the platform.Yesterday, about 2.55pm, I got a push notification on my phone. It made a sound I'd never heard before. I looked over and it noted that there'd been an earthquake, estimated magnitude 5.6, about 100...

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Contact details

It seemed really obvious, really early, that robust privacy protections were needed around Covid sign-ins. If even some people expect, entirely unreasonably, that there's any chance that police could subpoena that data, then it needs to be bright-line illegal for anyone to hand that data over to police. The government can insist all it wants that the police wouldn't do that, but people who don't inherently trust police to do the right thing would rightly insist on stronger protection than...

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