Final Eric Crampton

Dr Eric Crampton

Chief Economist

Eric is the Chief Economist at The New Zealand Initiative. With the Initiative, he has worked in policy areas ranging from freshwater management to policy for earthquake preparedness, and from local government to technology policy. He has recently focused on policy related to Covid-19 response. He served as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Department of Economics & Finance at the University of Canterbury from 2003 through 2014.

Eric’s columns and commentary appear regularly in New Zealand’s major media outlets, as well as on his blog, Offsetting Behaviour. He can also be found on Twitter at @ericcrampton .

Latest reports:
Roadmap for Recovery: Briefing to the Incoming Government (2020)
Democracy in the Dark
Safe Arrivals (2020)
Policy Point: Open for minds: export education and recovery (2020)
Policy Point: Stay on Target
Research Note: Effective Treatment: Public policy prescription for a pandemic  (2020)
Policy Point: Time to Process (2020)
Research Note: Seeing the problem, but missing the point: Decile dilemmas (2019)
Research Note: The Unreserved Bank of New Zealand: Why unorthodox monetary policy needs boundaries (2019)
Policy Point: Biting education bullets (2019)
Refreshing Water: Valuing the priceless (2019)
Score! Transforming NCEA Data (2018)
Recipe for disaster: Building policy on shaky ground (2018)
Analog Regulation, Digital World (2017)
The Outside of the Asylum: A New Zealander’s guide to the world out there (2017)
Decade of Debt: The Cost of Interest-free Student Loans (2016)
Deadly Heritage (2016)
In the Zone: Creating a Toolbox for Regional Prosperity (2015)
The Case for Economic Growth (2015)

Phone: +64 4 499 0790


Recent Work


Emissions Trading Scheme most durable path to net zero carbon goal

Amid all of the discussions of the Climate Commission’s draft report on New Zealand’s climate change response, it is too easy to lose track of the target. The goal isn’t to reach specific electric vehicle targets, though we would expect more people to shift away from petrol as petrol costs increase and as electric vehicles become more competitive. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The Dominion Post
8 March, 2021
Covid 19 Health NZ v2

The After-M*A*S*H

During the pilot episode of M*A*S*H, surgeon ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce wrote a letter home explaining the difference between surgery at a Korean War mobile surgical hospital, and the surgery back home. In normal surgery, you have time to get everything right. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
5 March, 2021

Government urged to ease building restrictions to help fix housing crisis

There are calls for the Government to ease building restrictions if we want even a chance of fixing the housing crisis. The New Zealand Initiative report "The need to build - the demographic drivers of housing demand" shows population growth will require an extra 30-thousand homes per year. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Mike Hosking - Breakfast, Newstalk ZB
23 February, 2021
EC LG screenshot v2

Eric Crampton and Leon Grice discuss saliva-based PCR testing for Covid-19

New, accurate, and rapid saliva-based PCR testing for Covid-19 has started to be used in New Zealand, after being validated by the University of Illinois in 2020. The New Zealand Initiative Chief Economist, Dr Eric Crampton, and Rako Science Executive Director, Leon Grice, discuss the benefits of this test and how it makes daily testing possible for those who work at the New Zealand border. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Leon Grice
19 February, 2021
employment v2

Why did Covid 'wave of job losses' never really hit?

Suppose a tear in the spacetime continuum had delivered you a copy of December quarter 2020’s employment statistics one year early. You had received the key graphs on the employment rate, the unemployment rate, labour force participation rates and underutilisation rates for the year to come – but none of the accompanying discussion. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
11 February, 2021

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