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Frontier firms: an international small advanced economy perspective


David Skilling

Date published

28 May 2020

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This paper uses the international small advanced economy experience to provide perspectives on the relatively low number of frontier firms in New Zealand, as well as to identify classes of policy action that could lead to improved performance. This productivity challenge is even more acute in the wake of the economic shock caused by Covid-19, which will require New Zealand to develop more distinctive competitive advantage to compete in a low global growth environment.

The aim of this paper is to offer some perspectives on the type of policy interventions that will lead to material improvement in New Zealand’s productivity. New Zealand’s small size – and small number of large or high growth firms – makes it feasible to use this firm-focused perspective to generate specific insights on how to raise aggregate productivity.

This research was commissioned for the Productivity Commission's frontier firms inquiry.

Read the report here.



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Our research aims to understand New Zealand's productivity performance and the role of policy in lifting productivity. 

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The goal of our research is to facilitate a move from an economy that grows by using more “inputs” (such as labour or natural resources), to one where productivity plays a greater role in driving economic growth – essentially, working smarter, with greater financial and knowledge capital employed per worker.

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