Monday , August 10 2020
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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.

Education departments are weird

So our Joel Hernandez has completed some more work on what's all going on in New Zealand's school system and an Auckland Uni education prof is mad about it. Oh well. Joel's long term project has been to look at differences in outcomes across students and schools, using the administrative data held in the StatsNZ data lab to adjust for a rather broad assortment of things that students bring with them into the classroom. Naive league tables will credit, or damn, schools for outcomes that are...

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Mapping Covid in NZ: Genome says?

Things I learned from what looks to be a superb study on Covid in New Zealand using genetic analysis of 56% of all confirmed cases:Only 19% of cases that came into New Zealand resulted in more than one additional person being infected while 24% led to a single additional infection - presumably policy substantially reduced transmission;Lockdown reduced R-naught of our biggest cluster from 7 to 0.2 within a week;The 649 cases analysed showed 277 separate introductions of the virus into New...

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Things you wouldn’t think need explaining, but somehow still do

The world's a puzzling place.Maybe cognitive constraints bind a lot more tightly than I'd ever thought. The government runs New Zealand's managed isolation system for arrivals at the border. The Ministry of Health was making an awful mess of things, so the military took over parts of it. This week we learned that the government hasn't really been testing frontline isolation staff for Covid. They have an aspirational target of testing staff every two weeks, and do have more regular health...

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Innovative island nations

An intriguing proposal from an innovative island nation offering safer respite from the pandemic:The government of a Caribbean island has a tantalizing suggestion for quarantine-weary Canadians: Working from home is a lot more palatable when you're doing it remotely from a tropical paradise.The island nation of Barbados has launched something it's calling a Barbados Welcome Stamp, a one-year remote working visa that gives foreigners the right to live and work remotely in Barbados while they...

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Fix the darned pipes

Wellington loses somewhere between 7 and 32 percent of its water because of leaks in the pipes. Nobody knows how much is lost because water isn't properly metered. Wellington has more than three times as many old cruddy pipes as the next worst council, Christchurch. Getting a new source to meet both new demand and the leaks will cost $250 million. Additional sources are likely worth having anyway for resilience against quakes, so long as they don't feed into the same potential fail point of...

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Better borders

Kate MacNamara over at the Herald goes through the problems caused by the current lack of capacity in New Zealand's managed isolation facilities. New Zealand's current border settings allow only citizens and permanent residents into the country, with very limited exceptions.Despite these restrictions, demand has threatened to overwhelm the Government's capacity to accept arrivals, at least under the current policy settings. New Zealand requires all arrivals to spend at least 14 days in...

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Shoup ba doup

It's a true but little-known fact that Salt-N-Pepa's classic song was actually an ode to Donald Shoup. Okay, maybe not. But it should have been. The National Policy Statement on urban planning bans larger cities from having minimum parking restrictions. The Shoupistas have conquered New Zealand. It is excellent news; congratulations in particular to Julie Anne Genter. My column in this week's Stuff newspapers covers the basic economics of minimum parking regulations.A snippet:But the more...

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Morning roundup

The browser tabs... there are so many. Auckland University's Prof Tim Dare argues for a better contact tracing app. I use the Rippl app whenever I find a QR that it can handle, and I keep Google Location tracking on all the time, hoping that both would make things easier if it ever were necessary. I had, early on, installed MIT's app that logged bluetooth contact with other folks running the app, but nobody in NZ runs it so it's a bit useless. The government always finds reasons not to do...

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Safe arrivals

If entry into New Zealand from abroad is safe, it should be allowed. People arriving from places that are Covid-free, or no more risky than New Zealand, and who get here on flights that do not intersect with risky places, should return to normal travel arrangements. Currently, the Cook Islands, the rest of New Zealand's Pacific Island realm, and Taiwan would fit the bill - along possibly with Vietnam, if the epidemiologists figure that's safe. Similarly, any Australian states that get things...

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Living free

Holidays over the winter school break were glorious.We took the ferry across to the South Island to catch up with friends, find some snow, and see what was all going on on the Mainland.I'm giving way more of a travelogue here than I ever normally would, because of the anecdata on what restaurants, tourist spots, and hospitality venues were like. The loss of all international tourists can matter. The Monday afternoon ride across was wonderful. Calm all the way through with smooth sailing. We...

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