Measuring public sector productivity

Friday, March 24, 2017
New Zealand Productivity Commission, Level 15, Fujitsu Tower, 141 The Terrace


A roundtable discussion with

Professor Norman Gemmell,
Victoria University of Wellington Chair in Public Finance
Dr Patrick Nolan,
Principal Advisor, New Zealand Productivity Commission


Time:  10.30 – 12.00 noon

There are many reasons for wanting to increase the rate of growth of public sector productivity. Trends such as an ageing workforce mean that a strategy of delivering output growth through increasing inputs will become less feasible. By allowing “more bang for each buck” higher rates of productivity growth can also bend down fiscal cost curves and help satisfy increasing expectations of quality by clients. Productivity growth is a key dimension of better public services.

Yet while more productivity may be a good thing it is not immediately clear how to best develop and use productivity measures. Over the last two decades national statisticians and others have made significant progress towards developing techniques for measuring public sector productivity. But – at least compared to the measured sector – this is still a developing field and there is a lack of an international consensus on key questions.

At this roundtable Norman and Patrick will discuss recent New Zealand and international work on measuring public sector productivity. A range of approaches – and their strengths and weaknesses – will be discussed with illustrative examples. Time will be set aside for interactive discussion with attendees.

Please note that places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Attendance will be confirmed by e-mail. The event will be held under the Chatham House rule.