Symposium: Unpicking New Zealand’s Productivity Paradox

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Te Papa, Wellington

The focus of the symposium was to discuss New Zealand’s “productivity paradox” – our relatively poor productivity growth compared to other OECD countries – and opportunities to turn this around.

Update - August 2013Bill English, Finance Minister, presenter at Symposium

Key take-out messages have been captured in this summary document.

See selected videos of presentations from the recent Symposium:

Paul Conway Director - Economics and Research, NZ Productivity Commission Productivity by the numbers: The NZ experience
Geoff Mason Senior Research Fellow, UK National Institute of Economic and Social Research Investigating NZ-Australia productivity differences: New comparisons at Industry Level
Alain de Serres Counsellor to the OECD's Chief Economist NZ's performance in an OECD context
Roger Procter Chief Economist, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Unpicking NZ's productivity paradox
Edward Glaeser Professor of Economics, Harvard University Productivity & growth: Education, agglomeration & entrepreneurship
Dave C. Mare Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Lessons for NZ from spatial economics
Hon. Bill English Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of Finance Closing address












All slide presentations are also available to view, below.

About the Symposium

The Symposium covered many issues, including:

  • New Zealand’s productivity performance – history and comparison to other OECD countries
  • Entrepreneurship
  • International connections
  • Human capital
  • Research and Development
  • Regulation
  • The role of cities


Symposium Programme

Slide Presentations

Session 1: The productivity paradox

• 1A(i): Productivity by the numbers – by Peter Gardiner, Statistics New Zealand.
• 1A(ii): Productivity by the numbers – by Paul Conway, Productivity Commission.
• 1B: Investigating New Zealand-Australia productivity differences – by Geoff Mason, UK National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

Session 2: Causes for the paradox

• 2A: An International perspective on the productivity paradox – by Alain de Serres, OECD.
• 2B: Unpicking New Zealand’s productivity paradox – by Roger Procter, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Session 3: Theme – technology and finance

• 3A: Internet usage and New Zealand productivity – by Hayden Glass, Sapere Research Group.
• 3B: The impact of New Zealand’s capital market constraints on productivity and growth – by Ben Gerritsen, Castalia Advisors.

Session 4: Theme – spatial

• 4A: Productivity and growth: Education, agglomeration and entrepreneurship – by Edward Glaeser, Harvard University.
• 4B: Lessons for New Zealand from spatial economics – by Dave C. Maré, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

Session 5: Theme – industry level

• 5A: Construction productivity: The devil is in the detail – by Helen Anderson, Productivity Partnership
• 5B: New Zealand’s productivity paradox: A transport policy perspective – by Joanne Leung, Ministry of Transport.

About the Productivity Hub

The Symposium was held by the Productivity Hub in conjunction with the New Zealand Association of Economists’ 54th Annual Conference on 3-5 July 2013.

The Productivity Hub is a partnership of agencies focused on better understanding New Zealand’s productivity experience and the role of policy in improving productivity growth.