Robertson on productivity: not much basis for confidence

I’m not going to write much about the Productivity Hub (Productivity Commission, MBIE, Treasury, and Statistics New Zealand) conference yesterday on “Technological Change and Productivity”.   Not all of it was even about productivity, not all of it was even relevant to New Zealand (there was a genuinely fascinating presentation from a US academic on … Continue reading Robertson on productivity: not much basis for confidence

National single-handedly lifting parliamentary productivity

The Productivity Commission has been working on a report on state sector productivity, commissioned by the previous National-led government.    I’m not sure that everyone simply working harder was quite what they had in mind. But judging by the number of written parliamentary questions lodged in the less than three weeks since the opening of … Continue reading National single-handedly lifting parliamentary productivity

What does The Treasury want to know? Not about productivity apparently

Last week I joined 80 or 90 other economists and people from related disciplines, drawn from the public sector, universities, consultancies, and think tanks, together with a few commentators, at an event organised by The Treasury.  It was billed as “Wealth and wellbeing: High quality economics in the twenty-first century”.  They were looking for input. … Continue reading What does The Treasury want to know? Not about productivity apparently

Productivity and employment

With 30 seconds thought it is pretty obvious that if the least productive 10 per cent of our workforce simply dropped out and stayed home, then across the whole economy average GDP per hour worked would increase, all else equal.   All else equal, the productivity of any particular individual still employed wouldn’t change –  … Continue reading Productivity and employment

Productivity growth still missing in action

It was Paul Krugman, winner of the economics pseudo-Nobel Prize who famously captured one of the fairly basic insights of economics.  When it comes to material living standards in the medium to longer-term, if productivity isn’t everything, it is almost everything.   The terms of trade bob around, but probably won’t do much (harm or … Continue reading Productivity growth still missing in action

Consistently dismal relative productivity growth

Having done Saturday’s post unpicking some of Steven Joyce’s claims about New Zealand’s productivity performance, I thought it might be worth using the data for a few more charts illustrating something of our performance relative to other advanced countries going back a few decades. Of the official SNZ data I used in my nine measures … Continue reading Consistently dismal relative productivity growth

Productivity growth in perspective

Someone sent me a copy of a press release put out today by the Minister of Finance, Steven Joyce, is his capacity as the chair of National’s campaign.    In it he claims that productivity growth over National’s term of government has exceeded that when Labour was last in office, and has exceeded that of … Continue reading Productivity growth in perspective

Productivity, wages, and other debate thoughts

Like many, I watched the major party leaders’ debate last night.   It was civil and courteous, playing the issues rather than the person.  So far, so good.  But sadly neither leader seemed to offer anything very substantial on fixing our pressing economic challenges, or even show any real sign of understanding the issues.   … Continue reading Productivity, wages, and other debate thoughts

Some productivity snippets

I’ve shown previously various iterations of this chart, real GDP per hour worked for New Zealand and Australia. It isn’t exactly an encouraging picture for New Zealand.   Then again, it is also a bit surprising.  For all of New Zealand’s underperformance over the decades, we haven’t usually diverged that badly from Australia over such … Continue reading Some productivity snippets