GEN-erating interest

28/10/2011 § Leave a comment

The new Government Economics Network had their first quarterly networking event yesterday afternoon. Good attendance from several agencies and at least a couple of private-sector economists. We were treated to short presentations by Lilla Csorgo and Norman Gemmell.

Lilla, from the Commerce Commission, talked about her work in Canada with competition law. She discussed how enforcement agencies de facto create policy, although de jure that is not their function. A quick web search also found that she has a literary career and a blog to go with it.

Norman, from Treasury, gave an interesting presentation on the differences between the skills that economists learn in their training, and ones they actually need to do policy work. This was a detailed case study of two larger questions: what are universities for, and what is the role of on-the-job training in the economy?

Norman has been key in getting GEN going, so congratulations to him for the event. He will be moving on, taking up a Chair in Public Finance at Victoria University (announcement here). Grant Scobie will become – let’s see if I have this right – Treasury’s Acting Chief Economist Designate. Joey Au will be helping Grant with GEN, and is the contact person if you care to find out more.

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