Presentation to the Petersen Institute

Monday, July 11, 2016
Petersen Institute, Washington

Petersen Institute

Paul Conway is the Director of the Economics & Research Team at the New Zealand Productivity Commission. He leads the Commission’s work on understanding the broad drivers of New Zealand’s productivity performance and the role of policy in improving it. He is also Chair of the Productivity Hub, a cross-agency collaboration of productivity researchers in the New Zealand public sector.
Paul is an economist with extensive international experience and has previously worked with the OECD, the World Bank, Westpac and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. His work has included studies on the impact of regulation on competition and productivity in New Zealand, China, Russia and India, as well as broader OECD-wide analysis. Much of Paul’s recent work with the Commission has focused on understanding productivity at the level of New Zealand firms.

Presentation abstract
Despite extensive market-oriented reform from the mid-1980s, the New Zealand economy has suffered weak productivity growth for a number of decades. This has proven to be a headache for domestic and international economists working on New Zealand and a great deal of effort has gone into trying to explain the apparent paradox.
In this presentation, Paul Conway will outline recent work by the Productivity Commission aimed at understanding the broad economic reasons why lifting aggregate productivity growth has proven to be so difficult in New Zealand. Much of this work has been done at the firm level based on the insights developed in the OECD’s recent work on “The Future of Productivity”.
Given a diagnosis of New Zealand’s productivity underperformance, the presentation will then sketch out the broad policy directions conducive to improving the productivity of New Zealand firms. Particular attention is paid to increasing investment in knowledge based capital and the potential to benefit from the rapid changes currently taking place in the global trading environment.