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Dr Dennis Wesselbaum

Adjunct Fellow

Dennis is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Otago, the Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Economists, Editor-in-Chief of New Zealand Economic Papers and Associate Director of the University of Otago’s Economics PhD Programme.

Dennis is a macroeconomist with both theoretical and empirical interests. His research activity is split between macroeconomic topics and the impacts of climate change. His research interests are Macroeconomics (esp. Monetary and Fiscal Policy), Quantitative Economics, Economic Growth, Migration, and, more generally, the interaction between climate, environment, and society.

He earned a Diploma in (Theoretical) Economics from the University in Kiel and received his Doctorate (Doctor rerum politicarum) from the University of Hamburg. In between, he worked as a researcher for the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Dennis’ personal website can be found at:

Recent Work


Learning about inflation

Common advice to public speakers is to start with a joke. So perhaps outgoing Prime Minister Chris Hipkins was only joking when he kept saying, “We are winning the battle against inflation”. Read more

Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Insights Newsletter
27 October, 2023

Ruling out a wealth tax

The Prime Minister has ruled out a wealth tax so long as he is leader of the Labour Party. The promise may have been driven by recent polling, but it is sound economics nevertheless. Read more

Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Insights Newsletter
13 July, 2023

Media Release: A majority of staff at NZ universities revealed to be non-academics

Wellington (Monday, 19 June 2023) – The New Zealand Initiative has revealed that Victoria and Otago Universities employ more non-academic than academic staff, a situation prevalent in all New Zealand universities for the past decade. The findings, prepared by Drs. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Media Release
19 June, 2023

Media release: New Zealand Economists provide inflation warnings ahead of RBNZ OCR decision

Wellington (Wednesday, 23 November 2022) – In the leadup to today’s Official Cash Rate decision, New Zealand’s economists warn that inflation expectations are unhinged and that government deficits are worsening the problem. They also remind us that New Zealand cannot maintain current employment levels by accepting high inflation rates. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Media Release
23 November, 2022
university new zealand

Potemkin learning

If you lecture in the theatre and no student is there to hear it, did anybody learn? Welcome to teaching at universities in 2022. Read more

Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Insights Newsletter
14 October, 2022
cost of covid

Uncoordinated Monetary and Fiscal Policy during COVID-19

The monetary and fiscal policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic set the stage for the inflation we are currently experiencing. In the debate about what drives inflation and who is to blame, one important element has not received the attention it deserves: the coordination between monetary and fiscal policy. Read more

Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Insights Newsletter
16 September, 2022
Electric vehicle 3

Policies Promoting Electric Vehicles: Too Fast, too Furious?

Politicians are recently pushing for a large-scale adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEV; currently <1% of vehicles in NZ) to reduce the emissions generated by the transport sector. The emissions reduction plan supports this with $1.2bn of spending, of which $569m are used for the “Clean Car Upgrade” programme. Read more

Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Insights Newsletter
12 August, 2022

Inflation in NZ

Inflation in New Zealand has been on the rise (7.3 percent last quarter) as have the attempts to explain it. The RBNZ points to strong global economic activity, supply disruptions, and the Ukraine war. Read more

Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
Insights Newsletter
22 July, 2022

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