Today the LivingstandardsNZ Workshop kicked off with participants attending the Government Economics Network Conference at Te Papa. The topic of the conference was ‘modern economic methods for robust policy analysis‘ and participants were fortunate enough to hear from a diverse range of talented speakers.
First up was John FitzGerald from the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. John provided an overview of the economic success and failure of the Irish economy over time. John was followed by Anthony Scott from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research and David McKenzie from the World Bank who spoke on improving performance in healthcare and the value of randomised experiments, respectively. Finally we heard from Adam Jaffe, the director and senior fellow of Wellington’s own Motu institute.
The day was both exciting and challenging as topics ranged from the general to the specific and back again, from the technical aspects of incentives in health care, to how we can make New Zealand a place our best and brightest will want to return to.
Some key ideas for participants to mull over in the next few days included: the importance of learning from other countries, the qualities we value in our institutions, as well as new challenges we face; for example integrating micro and macro economic tools and the way we utilize micro and administrative data.
We are lucky enough to have John Mackenzie joining us for pizza this evening at the Institute to wrap up a great first day!
Recommended reading from the conference speakers today included:
Why Nations fail, by James A.Robinson, Daron Acemoglu
Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman