NZESG - New Zealand Economic Study Group


NZESG Prospectus and Appeal for Sponsorship

New Zealand has a long history of active scholarship in econometrics and the country now has many econometricians working in tertiary education, in Government Departments, in research institutes and in the private sector. The group is extensivc if one includes the large number of economists engaged in empirical work using econometric methods.

At present, there is no national forum for academics, research students, professional applied economists and others working in econometrics to meet and discuss their work and to learn from each other about ongoing developments in the field. To satisfy the professional needs of this diverse group of professionals, we propose the formation of a New Zealand Econometrics Study Group (NZESG). This prospectus lays out the objectives of the proposed NZESG, reports on the inaugural meeting held in Auckland in February of 1997 and makes an appeal to institutions around the country with interests in applied economics and econometrics to support the establishment of the NZESG on a permanent basis.

Mission and Objectives of the NZESG

The NZESG will serve to bring econometricians together on a regular basis to promote research in econometrics, disseminate knowledge and provide an opportunity for members of the econometrics community in New Zealand who are working in different professional settings to learn from each other and to meet visiting econometricians from overseas.

More specifically, the NZESG will help to meet the needs of the econometrics community by seeking to:

  1. Promote collegial interaction among econometricians in NZ
  2. Provide a regular forum for econometricians to present their research to a peer group
  3. Nurture young scholars by providing them with an opportunity to talk about their proposed work to a wider group beyond their immediate institution
  4. Invite key speakers from overseas to give the younger generation of NZ econometricians an opportunity to meet and interact with overseas visitors in a congenial setting.
  5. Promote interaction with NZ statistics community
  6. Include a special thematic session at each conference that deals with a matter of general importance to researchers and teachers of econometrics and applied econometricians who are working on a variety of practical economic problems. These sessions will be organised as round-table panel dialogues with a good deal of floor participation from the audience. Our first special session was on 'Econometric Software'. Future sessions will be on topics that are relevant to both academic and practical aspects of econometrics such as those listed below under academic and practical aspects of econometrics

Academic (Teaching and Research)

  1. First year econometrics courses
  2. Undergraduate econometrics curriculum
  3. Graduate econometrics curriculum
  4. Thesis supervision
  5. Teaching and using econometrics software
  6. Technical wordprocessing

Practical Aspects of Econometrics in Business, Government and Consulting

  1. Practical econometric forecasting
  2. Econometrics in banking and finance
  3. Exchange rate and inflation modelling
  4. Taxation econometrics - modelling the NZ tax system
  5. Econometric modelling - the NZIER and RBNZ experience
  6. Econometric monetary policy forum

Appeal for Sponsorship

We are now appealing to relevant Government Departments, tertiary institutions, and private sector banking and financial institutions for sponsorship and financial support. In particular, we are approaching all of the institutions represented at the conference to provide us with some assistance.

Inaugural Meeting and Participation

The inaugural meeting of the NZESG was held at the University of Auckland in O’Rourke Hall 21-22 February. Copies of the final programme for this meeting and the list of participants are attached to this document.

The meeting was well attended, drawing participants from all over New Zealand. Faculty from the University of Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch, Otago and Victoria University attended. Several participants from outside the university sector came, including the RBNZ, IRD and the NZIER. The meeting attracted two overseas visitors, Katsuto Tanaka from Japan, one of Japan’s foremost econometricians, and In Choi, a leading econometrician from Korea, as well as Cliffor Wymer, a senior econometrician who is currently residing in Auckland. Several postgraduate students from the Department of Economics at the University of Auckland attended. All participants were actively involved in the programme, presenting research work, or acting as discussants and chairing sessions.

A highlight of the meeting was the roundtable discussion of econometric software programs, led by Les Oxley of the University of Waikato. The panel discussion was especially informative and the session attracted a lengthy and productive floor discussion and interaction with the panel that ended up taking the session nearly an hour over time, with no sign of diminishing returns.

Comments from Participants

Enthusiastic responses from participants indicate that there is strong support for continuation of NZESG meetings on a regular basis. There at plenty of ideas for future venues, suggestions for special themed sessions, and ideas about how we can better reach out to the special needs of graduate students and participants from the government and private sectors. Several people have offered to be involved in the running of future meetings. We appreciate this show of support and willingness to be involved, invite further offers of assistance, and encourage all members of the econometrics community to become involved in our activities. A sampling of responses received follows:

"I would like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the Econometric Study Group. I feel that as a graduate student, this provides an important learning tool, both in terms of the contents of the papers presented, but even more in seeing how to present research. Given the sparse concentration of econometric papers at the NZ Economics conference, a further opportunity to see what topics are currently being worked on was excellent. It was also good to be able to meet people working in institutions such as the IRD and Reserve Bank to see the type of non-academic jobs one can get with econometrics. It is perhaps hard to allow for both a good number of presentations and sufficient time to discuss them, especially without turning the proceedings into a marathon. However, I feel more discussion time is definitely desirable in comparison to the first meeting. This would especially be the case for works in progress still, and presentations by graduate students. On this subject, there is perhaps more scope for such presentations in the August session, where students have been working on research, rather than after the summer break. I appreciated the theme session on computer packages, and agree that a second session, using scientific word packages etc. would be very useful."

"Very much enjoyed the conference. Good mix of theory and applications. Good mix of academics and non-academics, and sufficiently informal. Presentations a little tightly scheduled, but always are at such events. Range of topics quite stimulating. Very well organised and run (of course). Great venue. Reasonable price. Not sure how relevant the topics covered will be to my work [deletion to preserve anonymity, Ed.] but will definitely be relevant to my future research. Only suggestion for improvement might be if interest and attendance were sufficient to run concurrent sessions."

"It is tremendously helpful and motivating for young people like me to have a chance to get to know and interact with first class econometricians both from NZ and overseas, and keep informed of what kind of research other people are doing. If there is any potential room for improvement, I hope that in the future meetings, there would be more time allotted for both discussants and audience to ask and comment on papers presented. The other thing I want to mention is that it may not be a bad idea to charge some reasonable amount of conference fee for faculty members because anyway faculty members are either funded by research fund or by school domestic conference leave fund."

"I was honoured to be a discussant at the NZESG meeting. Although I have presented tutorials, seminars and the like they have never been undertaken in front of so many outstanding economists. I will be more than happy to be part of this productive group in the future. Overall the meeting was a great success given the short notice. Food, drink and of course the seminars all possessed the right qualities for success. One consideration for future meetings may be the venue. There were some noticeable distractions which is not suprising given that it is a student hostel."

Most of the Universities were represented and participants from document Report on inaugural meeting and programme and participants. [To be completed]

Future Plans

Our idea is to have two meetings a year, one in Auckland in February around the time of the meeting this year, before tertiary sector teaching starts, and the second in August. The latter could be run as a pre-conference or post-conference program in econometrics at the NZ Association of Economists Meeting. Our intention is to have it rotate around various centres in NZ.

As indicated above, we have several offers to run and arrange future meetings of the NZESG and we will soon be moving forward to arrange the next meeting. Please get in touch with us immediately if you would like to arrange one of our meetings at some time in the future.