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New Zealand Productivity Commission

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We are an independent Crown entity, that provides advice to the Government on improving productivity.

35 results found

Research projects

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May 2017
Statistics New Zealand has estimated that since 1996 increases in outputs of the public sector have largely been associated with increasing labour inputs. In the education sector, for example, the average annual increase in output of 1.0% between 1996 and 2015 was composed of average annual labour input growth of 2.5% while labour productivity fell on average by 1.5% per annum. These data use...
May 2017
This research note adopts a public management framework to explore the complexity and challenges of introducing productivity measurement in the social sector. The framework draws on James Q Wilson’s matrix of government tasks (Wilson, 1989) and literature which explores its strengths and limitations (Gregory (1995a) and Gregory and Lonti (2008)). This note applies the matrix to a set of tasks...
Mar 2017
The Government asked the Productivity Commission to carry out an inquiry into new models of tertiary education. The terms of reference suggested that the tertiary education system has “considerable inertia”, with tertiary providers reluctant to be first movers or early adopters in shifting away from traditional models. At the outset of the inquiry, the Commission was mindful of the importance of...
Feb 2017
There are substantial ethnic gaps in higher education in NZ, despite more than a decade of considerable policy effort aimed at this concern. This study uses newly linked administrative data to examine the underachievement of Māori and Pasifika relative to Europeans. We follow a population cohort born between 1990 and 1994 from school through to young adulthood to assess the relative contributions...
16 Dec 2016
To examine the extent to which to new productivity-enhancing ideas and technologies diffuse within the New Zealand economy, this paper examines the speed with which lagging low-productivity firms converge towards leading high-productivity firms at both the local and national levels. Results show that New Zealand firms have faster productivity convergence towards the local frontier compared to the...
16 Dec 2016
Services play an important and growing role in international trade. They are an important export earner for New Zealand – representing 29% of our total exports on a gross basis. Today, however, services are not only traded across borders on their own but are also combined with goods exports (ie, embedded services) and are critical inputs in the production process of exported goods (i.e. embodied...
28 Nov 2016
Achieving New Zealand's productivity potential outlines reasons why New Zealand has generally struggled to lift productivity over the last four decades and the broad areas of policy reform that would help in turning that around. It draws on recent research on New Zealand’s productivity and aims to give a more comprehensive and policy-relevant account than has been possible previously.
May 2016
This paper analyses a range of factors associated with the subjective wellbeing of New Zealanders. It provides international comparisons based on the Better Life Index developed by the OECD. In addition it draws on data from three waves of the New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS). The OECD Better Life Index shows that New Zealand compares favourably with the average for the OECD countries...
Nov 2015
This Cut to the Chase highlights three recent papers that use firm-level data to understand better the productivity of New Zealand firms: "Firm productivity growth and skills" by David Maré, Dean Hyslop and Richard Fabling; "Production function estimation using New Zealand’s Longitudinal Business Database" by Richard Fabling and David Maré; and "Addressing the absence of hours information in...
Jun 2015
New Zealand has a poor productivity track record at the level of the aggregate economy and there is little evidence of productivity “catching up” towards that of leading economies. At the same time, there is a very wide distribution of productivity levels among firms within the same industries and it is at least possible that some New Zealand firms are among the most productive in their industry...

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