Author Archives: Brian Easton

What Happened to Egalitarian New Zealand?

Bob Scott Lecture Series on Inequality, 25 June 2019. (See also Have We Abandoned the Egalitarian Society?) What I want to do this evening is examine egalitarianism. In particular, New Zealand is a less egalitarian society today than it was when I was growing up in the 1950s. Why? How? The structure of the paper…
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The Macroeconomic Implications of the Public Finance Act

Presentation to the Symposium: ‘Wellbeing’, Budget Responsibility Rules, and the Public Finance Act (15 April, 2019, Victoria University of Wellington) [1] Macroeconomic analysis, research, policy and forecasting is based upon two major data bases. One, provided by Statistics New Zealand, is centred on the National Accounts, but there are many additional elements. The other, which…
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Obituary: Ian Francis Shirley

Ian Shirley (28 February 1940 – 20 January 2019) This obituary was first published in “The Policy Observatory” which Ian founded New Zealand’s progressive causes have been driven by a strong sense of social justice. Ian Shirley was one of the nation’s strongest drivers. He was born in Kaiapoi and spent his early years in…
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NEW ZEALAND’S 9/11: UNITY IN DIVERSITY

This was submitted to an American publication but not published.) On 15 March, 2019, a gunman entered Masjid Al Noor, a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, during prayer time, and fired a semiautomatic rifle adapted to shoot continuously. He then went to a second mosque a few miles away, shooting people there too. Altogether 50…
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NEW ZEALAND’S METHANE CLOUD

Summary:. Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas. Some methane comes from atmospheric carbon-dioxide which is fixed in grass, eaten by livestock, belched into the atmosphere and eventually returns to atmospheric carbon-dioxide. Before it breaks down, the methane molecules form a ‘cloud’ in the atmosphere which adds to global warming at a much higher rate per…
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Census Mess Can Be Resolved with a New One in 2021

I was commissioned by the ‘Dominion Post’ to write an opinion piece as part of their review of the anniversary of the 2018 Census. This is a slightly revised version of what they published. The main article is ‘365 days and still counting:  Census results still nowhere to be seen’.  An earlier ‘Pundit’ column is ‘The…
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Posts on Health Economics on Pundit

The following are various columns on my Pundit website which involve health economics.  What is the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder? (7 November 2014) The Cost of Demanding More Health Care (10 November, 2014) Prolongation of Life and the Quality of Life (28 November, 2014) Thrive: The Power of Psychological Therapy (November 2, 2015) Are we spending enough…
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BEING A HEALTH ECONOMIST

Wellington School of Medicine Summer School  22 February, 2019. But, first, you may well ask, why should anyone – especially a health practitioner – care about health economics? When I was teaching health economics to sixth-year medical students, I wrote on the board so that it was there during the entire session: EITHER HEALTH PROFESSIONALS…
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Brexit: A View from Down Under

This was submitted to a British news publication in late December, but was not published.  Brexit is a great puzzle to New Zealanders. Britain and New Zealand are affectionate cousins with common ancestors back in the nineteenth century. We have gone our own ways; even so we have views of the other’s ways. New Zealand’s…
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Poverty and the Statistician

Presentation to the Wellington Statistics Group, 10 December, 2018 This year’s Child Poverty Reduction Act (CPRA) marks a major innovation in social policy. Politicians – here and overseas – have promised to eliminate child poverty at some date in the future. They never have and by the time the target date is reached the promisers…
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Submission to the National Archives and National Library Ministerial Group

The Issue John Stuart Mill argued it was better to be an unhappy philosopher than a happy pig; that all transactions and assets are not of equal value. However, the New Zealand Government system largely treats heritage assets similarly to other assets. Today’s governance needs to move past the happy-pig approach to one which recognises…
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Correction to submission to Parliamentary Select Committee on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill.

In my original submission on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill, I had a separate discussion proposing adding a section to the part of the bill which modifies the Oranga Tamariki Act (and will be eventually be separated out) requiring that in all activities involving a child, the best interests of the child should be paramount….
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Maori have been trapped in a poverty cycle

Dale Husband | May 15, 2018 This was published in e-tangata. Brian Easton is a 75-year-old economist, statistician, academic, historian, columnist, and author. For much of his career, he’s made a specialty of explaining to New Zealanders what’s going right and what’s going wrong in our economy. In his latest book, Heke Tangata, which was commissioned…
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Submission to the Social Services and Community Select Committee on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill

Note that some of the original submission proved redundant. For ease of presentation they have been removed. An explanation of what happened is set out here. (I have not changed the numbering.) Introduction My name is Brian Easton. I have a doctorate of science from the University of Canterbury and hold other qualifications in economics,…
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David Mayes: 1946–2017

David Mayes, Professor of Finance at the University of Auckland, died on November 30, 2017, aged 71. Asymetric Information No 61, April 2018, p.6 David studied for a PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at the University of Oxford, graduating in 1968, before completing his PhD at the University of Bristol in 1971. Much of his…
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