The economics of social services

Date: 
Friday, August 18, 2017
Location: 
The Treasury, Level 5, 1 The Terrace

The Government Economics Network and Productivity Hub invite you to: 

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The economics of social services
Dr Richard Meade,
Principal Economist, Cognitus Economic Insight and
Senior Research Fellow, AUT University 

Time: 10.00 – 11.30
RSVP: hubsecretariat@productivity.govt.nz

The economics literature may not be an obvious source of insight into improving the effectiveness of social services. For many, economics has strong associations with for-profit (FP) firms and with competitive markets for consumer goods, labour and financial capital. Social services appear divorced from such FPs and markets.

Yet, the economics discipline has devoted much thought and attention to the study of “markets” with complex features such as those arising in social services, and analysed social services specifically. Further, many of the issues that arise in commissioning, purchasing and contracting – topics relevant to the Productivity Commission’s current state sector productivity inquiry – are common to social services and other types of services. Those issues are well-studied in the economics literature.

At this roundtable Dr Richard Meade will present a survey of economic literature relevant to understanding social services. This will be based on work that he completed for the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into more effective social services (see link here).

Please note that RSVPs are essential and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

Through Cognitus, Richard has been providing economic analysis, advice, research and representation to public, private and Māori organisations across a diverse range of sectors, since 2002. Through university associations, he conducts academic research, and teaches in industrial organisation, environmental economics and corporate finance. He regularly presents at policy and academic seminars, workshops and conferences, locally and abroad.

Richard spent five years at Toulouse School of Economics, where he was awarded a PhD with Distinction in Industrial Organisation and Regulation in 2014. Prior to his graduate studies he was a Research Associate at the New Zealand Institute of Competition and Regulation (ISCR), with which he was associated from 2001-2011. His research there focused on the organisation and regulation of sectors such as electricity and agriculture, as well as climate change policy. He regularly presented on these themes at academic workshops and conferences, and to policy-oriented public audiences.

Richard’s research interests include industrial organisation (i.e. competition economics), regulation, institutional economics, and contract theory (i.e. theory of incentives).