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          Current inquiries


          Frontier firms

          Inquiry into New Zealand’s most productive firms confirmed

          13 January 2020

          The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to identify policies and interventions that cou...


          Training New Zealand’s workforce

          20 December 2019

          The Commission today released its draft report on Training New Zealand's workforce.


          Funding local government

          12 December 2019

          So you want to be elected to your local district council? Judging by the placards employed for the r...

          Final report

          Targeted solutions needed to relieve funding pressures on co...

          12 December 2019

          The New Zealand Productivity Commission today released its final report on local government funding ...

          Draft report 2

          Productivity Commission suggests improved income security to...

          21 November 2019

          New Zealand is stuck with low wages because of low productivity and low technology adoption.

          Transitioning to a low-emissions economy

          NZ has a new Zero Carbon Act

          11 November 2019

          The passing of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill?last week commits the Govern...

          Gail Pacheco wins top AUT award

          26 October 2019

          AUT has bestowed its top award on an economist hailed for her research, scholarship and application ...

          New Zealand city

          New report highlights major changes in where Kiwis live and ...

          17 October 2019

          Research released today by the Productivity Commission shows how New Zealanders have experienced big...

          Technology and productivity over time

          Time to prepare for the future of work, but not time to wast...

          12 September 2019

          Technology adoption supports higher productivity growth, higher income growth and increased resource...


          ProdCom News August 2019

          30 August 2019

          Get up to speed with the latest ProdCom news in our August newsletter...

          We're hiring

          Help achieve New Zealand's productivity potential

          21 August 2019

          We are looking for an experienced principal/senior researcher for a position within our Economics an...

          Government response to low emissions

          Government responds to Commission's low-emissions economy re...

          5 August 2019

          Climate Change Minister James Shaw has released the Government’s Climate Action Plan in response to ...

          Local government funding

          Local Government funding: Not broken but will need help

          17 July 2019

          The New Zealand Productivity Commission today released its?draft report?on local government funding ...

          New Commissioners

          New Commissioners appointed

          17 July 2019

          We welcome two new Commissioners to the Productivity Commission Board: Andrew Sweet and Gail Pacheco...

          Productivity by the numbers

          Poor productivity hurts living standards

          12 June 2019

          Research released today by the Productivity Commission highlights the cost of New Zealand’s poor pro...


          ProdComm News - May 2019

          29 May 2019

          Get up to speed with the latest ProdCom news with our May newsletter...

          New FutureworkNZ blog

          15 May 2019

          Ideas and debates supporting the Technological change and future of work inquiry.

          Issues paper release - Technological change and the future o...

          18 April 2019

          Today we release our issues paper and invite you to participate in our inquiry into Technological ch...

          Issues paper

          Inquiry update - Local government funding and financing

          15 April 2019

          Thanks to all our submitters and those who have met with us to provide information and feedback on o...

          Just what is this digital economy?

          11 March 2019

          The way to grow our already burgeoning digital economy is to find and support innovative local entre...

          Figure 1

          Labour market trends: what we know…

          9 March 2019

          How a country’s labour market performs has a huge bearing on its overall productivity and wellbeing.

          Technology’s impact on the future of work to be examined

          28 February 2019

          The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine and report on Technological change, ...


          Release of latest annual productivity statistics

          27 February 2019

          Last week, Stats NZ released its latest annual set of productivity statistics.


          ProdComm News: February 2019

          14 February 2019

          Get up to speed with the latest from the Commission with our February newsletter.

          State Services Commission

          SSC inquiry into the use of external security consultants

          18 December 2018

          The State Services Commission has conducted an inquiry into the use of external security consultants...

          Engagement for Local government funding and financing inquir...

          12 December 2018

          Consultation and engagement for our Local government funding and financing inquiry is underway.

          Sally Garden joins the Commission

          3 December 2018

          We are delighted that Sally Garden joins the Commission today as a Principal Advisor.

          Local government funding and financing: public views sought

          6 November 2018

          The Productivity Commission today published an issues paper for its inquiry into local government fu...

          Submitter's views to our Low-emissions economy inquiry

          1 November 2018

          Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in our Low-emissions economy inquiry.

          Technological change and productivity

          15 February 2018

          Can technologies be as disruptive to models of production as earlier industrial revolutions?


          New Year’s resolutions

          7 January 2020| Amelia Sharman

          The first week back at work after the new year is the most popular time to look for a new job.

          Will there still be Santa?

          20 December 2019| Amelia Sharman

          I’ve got some bad news about Santa Claus. The North Pole may be far, but it’s not too far to avoid t...

          Where are all the part-time students?

          19 December 2019| John MacCormick

          You’d think that with low unemployment and ever-improving technology for distance education, the pro...

          From sewing machinist to software programmer

          16 December 2019| Amelia Sharman

          I’m sure you’ve heard some version of this popular prediction – about two-thirds of children enterin...

          Occupational drift

          12 December 2019| Amelia Sharman

          New research by Dave Maré from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research for the Commission investiga...

          Is NZ short of equity capital?

          11 December 2019| Dave Heatley

          Low business investment is a problem for tech adoption. ?Interest rates don’t provide a convincing e...

          Why aren’t NZ businesses investing?

          9 December 2019| Dave Heatley

          Crazily low interest rates but NZ businesses are not investing. Why not?

          It’s an important question...

          Generalist to specialist

          5 December 2019| Amelia Sharman

          Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage...

          Bite-sized learning

          3 December 2019| Amelia Sharman

          There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning c...

          Policies for dynamic labour markets and productivity growth

          28 November 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          If you’re at risk of losing your job, your best protection is to have lots of other good job opportu...

          Getting the chop

          25 November 2019| Dave Heatley

          I’ve been made redundant. There, I’ve said it. Admittedly, it happened a long time ago. In 1986 I st...

          Get more people to push – or fix the engine?

          21 November 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          The Commission’s second draft report Employment, labour markets and income, for the Technological ch...

          Redundancy pay – a redundant policy tool?

          20 November 2019| John MacCormick

          Redundancy pay is a rather primitive form of insurance or “income smoothing”. It’s an old technology...

          Redundancy pay – who and what is it good for?

          18 November 2019| John MacCormick

          Redundancy (or severance) pay is an old technology to protect people from the risks and costs of job...

          Measuring wellbeing – lessons from the Boer War

          13 November 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics’.

          Migration and the labour market

          11 November 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Trans-Tasman migration and arrivals from other countries have bigger effects on New Zealand’s popula...

          There’s someone for everything

          7 November 2019| Amelia Sharman

          There’s a great new ad campaign running for Trade Me at the moment based on the slogan, ‘there’s som...

          How dynamic is the New Zealand labour market?

          4 November 2019| Tim Maddock

          Two new Productivity Commission reports tell us that the New Zealand labour market is characterised ...

          How many jobs do your skills prepare you for?

          31 October 2019| Amelia Sharman

          When I was applying for jobs in London, an amazing place – although my economist colleagues just cal...

          How effective are ALMPs?

          30 October 2019| Tim Maddock

          The success of an Active Labour Market Policy (ALMP) will depend a lot on the type of programme and ...

          More people and more jobs has changed New Zealand

          24 October 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          48% growth in employment over 40 years! This is a remarkable success story for New Zealand’s labour ...

          Low spending on ALMPs is not a good reason to increase it

          21 October 2019| Tim Maddock

          Based on OECD comparisons, New Zealand’s overall spending on Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) a...

          Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwis do and the places th...

          17 October 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big change...

          Will Dalek chilly bins conquer the last mile?

          16 October 2019| John MacCormick

          In Berkeley, California last week I met the Kiwibots – a tribe of 4-wheeled robots about the size of...

          Into the Frey

          14 October 2019| Nik Green

          If you’ve read anything about technological change and the future of work – or even if you’ve just G...

          When is a policy that helps people be in work not an ALMP?

          9 October 2019| Tim Maddock

          Answer: When it’s a childcare subsidy available to other low-income households.

          The confidence of youth

          3 October 2019| Amelia Sharman

          Young people have a strong belief that technology will shape their future but what types of skills a...

          Culturally diverse AI could enrich children’s learning

          2 October 2019| Amelia Sharman

          I love the bold and colourful marae at Te Papa Tongarewa. The space is made up of a marae ātea (plac...

          Biased algorithms – a good or bad thing?

          2 October 2019| Dave Heatley

          Fears of social problems accompany any new technology. Not just new problems, as technology can re-i...

          Guest post: Secondary school students on work in 2030

          30 September 2019| Pat Cody

          What do secondary school students think work will look like in 2030? Flying cars, genetically modifi...

          Left off the map – again!

          26 September 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          This is a slide from Professor Richard Baldwin’s presentation about his new book The Globotics Uphea...

          Too much (investment) screen time?

          23 September 2019| Nik Green

          Is this the reason why New Zealand doesn’t feature more prominently on global business and investmen...

          The gig on women’s earnings

          19 September 2019| John MacCormick and Judy Kavanagh

          Does gig work on digital platforms have a gender pay gap? The more flexible work options enabled by ...

          How important is human capital to productivity?

          18 September 2019| Amelia Sharman

          Have you ever done a MOOC? After completing four separate degrees and ten years at university, you w...

          How to insure against a workless future

          16 September 2019| Anthony Hall and Dr Nicholas Agar

          There are two “expert” messages about the impact of the digital revolution on work that are hard to ...

          New Zealand, technology and productivity

          12 September 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          The first of the Productivity Commission’s reports on technological change and the future of work is...

          Shocks to the system

          11 September 2019| Nik Green

          As a small country that’s far away from most of the world, it’s not surprising that many have worrie...

          The nuts and bolts of automation

          9 September 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Many, many things affect whether a firm will adopt a technology, and whether this adoption will be s...

          Making digital inclusion ‘go viral’

          5 September 2019| Amelia Sharman

          Can you ‘infect’ someone with digital skills? It may sound like an odd question but let me explain…

          Digital inclusion: What do we know from people who don’t use...

          4 September 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Forty-five percent of people who don’t use the internet say they have no interest in the internet or...

          Looking beyond access to solve the digital divide

          2 September 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Why is the Productivity Commission interested in the digital divide? Our terms of reference ask us h...

          We have better metrics than the labour income share. Let’s u...

          28 August 2019| Dave Heatley

          A decline in the labour income share (LIS) is not definitive evidence of capital replacing human lab...

          From Richard Pearse to the koru club

          26 August 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          There’s a long lag between invention and any labour market effects from the mass adoption of technol...

          Robots and frozen vegetables

          22 August 2019| Dave Heatley

          Freezing 500 tonnes of vegetables a day, most days of the year. That makes for a significant manufac...

          Why hang on to old tech?

          21 August 2019| Amelia Sharman

          As the opening chords of Country Calendar play, feel-good nostalgia for rural New Zealand washes ove...

          When tech does things humans never could

          15 August 2019| Nik Green

          Technological progress need not eliminate jobs; automation can allow new and expanded worthwhile act...

          It doesn’t pay to lose your job!

          14 August 2019| Tim Maddock

          How well does NZ support people who face job loss? ?

          I feel fortunate. In my working life – 3 ? yea...

          Technological change and the future of love

          12 August 2019| John MacCormick

          Online matchmaking has radically changed the way people search for love.

          Is tech change really accelerating?

          7 August 2019| Tim Maddock

          Accelerating or decelerating? Just about all the media commentary about the future of work says that...

          Climate change policy, technological change and the future o...

          6 August 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          It’s always a big day for the Productivity Commission when the Government announces its response to ...

          Can robots help fund more attractive places to live?

          1 August 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Robots are going to take our jobs, right?? Well, maybe. The available evidence provides conflicting ...

          Why do the Danes like tech?

          31 July 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Denmark is a lot like us. A small country and with an open economy and lots of fiords and sounds.

          Moon landings, automation fears and commissions of inquiry

          26 July 2019| Dave Heatley

          The 50th?anniversary of the moon landings got me thinking about 1960s tech and work.

          The perils of straight-line forecasting

          24 July 2019| Dave Heatley

          Skills scarcity is great. At least when it’s your skills in demand.

          Who should invest their money between workers’ ears?

          22 July 2019| John MacCormick

          Training is an investment in “embodied human capital” – assets stored in workers’ heads.

          Blocking agri-tech doesn’t mean we can block its undesired e...

          18 July 2019| Dave Heatley

          New tech. A traditional local industry.

          What to do when forecasts diverge?

          17 July 2019| Dave Heatley

          The nice thing about forecasts is that you have so many to choose from.

          Can tech-enabled flexible work close the gender pay gap?

          15 July 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          The converging roles of men and women are among the grandest advances in society and the economy in ...

          What makes a job a good job?

          11 July 2019| John MacCormick

          There’s an old joke about an economist searching for their keys under a street lamp.

          There’s no place like home

          10 July 2019| Tim Maddock

          Why don’t people move as often as economists expect??

          Some regions in New Zealand have much higher ...

          The demand for statisticians and Easter bunnies

          8 July 2019| Dave Heatley

          The right job in the wrong place. For many, that’s the reality of job search in New Zealand’s less p...

          Could AI be the answer to our productivity woes?

          3 July 2019| Judy Kavanagh

          Regardless of the technology hype, we’re in a productivity slump worldwide.

          Reading past the job-loss headlines

          27 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          “Machines take jobs” cry the headlines. A journalist friend once said the media only publish two sto...

          Is the post-2012 acceleration in automation tech sustainable...

          26 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          Can automation tech keep improving at the current rate??

          First, how good is today’s AI-enabled soft...

          Which technologies drive concern over the future of work?

          24 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          Biotech. Nanotech. Cleantech. Gene tech. Cloud computing tech. Successive waves of technological cha...

          The future of volunteering

          20 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          I only know one economist joke. A plane carrying economists plummets towards the ground after its en...

          Guest post: Land use and the future of work

          17 June 2019| Phil McDermott

          Flexible land-use planning complements a complex, dynamic and unpredictable employment environment. ...

          Career is a verb, not a noun

          17 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          career?(v) move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way.

          Scenarios and choosing a future

          14 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          Can New Zealand choose its own future of work? The submissions and feedback the inquiry has received...

          Pick a path

          13 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          Technology is an irresistible force, emerging from inventors and relentlessly changing the nature of...

          Is the price right?

          11 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          Prices affect firm decisions. Government policy affects prices, and in doing so indirectly affects t...

          The mothers of invention

          10 June 2019| Dave Heatley

          Necessity is the mother of invention if camping without tent pegs, according to Kinley Salmon in his...

          Girl bosses and skills to beat job-killing robots

          5 June 2019| John MacCormick

          GirlBoss NZ?urges us to take a strong gender perspective in our inquiry.

          Are ‘dumped’ workers pressured into ‘rebound’ jobs in NZ?

          30 May 2019| Tim Maddock

          Are fast rates of re-employment always a good thing? New Zealand’s incidence of long-term unemployme...

          The gig economy – flexible but tricky to measure

          27 May 2019| Tim Maddock

          It is hard to find a discussion about the future of work without some reference to the emergence of ...

          Is the future of work happening now?

          20 May 2019| Nik Green

          Many people worry about the impact of new and emerging technologies like robots and artificial intel...

          Don’t believe the hype

          17 May 2019| Dave Heatley

          Predicting technology is the first step towards predicting the labour market impacts of technology. ...

          Offshoring US manufacturing to China – it changed politics, ...

          15 May 2019| Dave Heatley

          The?US–China trade war?is in the news again.

          Job loss predictions – easy to make, hard to trust

          13 May 2019| Dave Heatley

          This graphic caught my eye. It accompanies the article?Robots and Us?in today’s Otago Daily Times.