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Guest Lecture: Prof Gary HawkeNew Zealand's Growth Potential in Historical Perspective

Page updated 20 Sep 2007

Abstract and notes from Prof Gary Hawke's Guest Lecture presented at the Treasury on 15 October 2002.

Prof Gary Hawke

Victoria University


Historical sensitivity is not prominent in the skills of most economists, and history is frequently used as a storehouse of alleged facts which can be selected so as to support preconceived positions. Changes in these respects provide opportunities to improve understanding of economic performance and policy options.

Economic growth as now understood is a relatively recent objective of economic policy in New Zealand. "Development", on the other hand, was prominent in the nineteenth century and has never been entirely subsumed in more recent concepts, even though the "top half of the OECD" has replaced "Britain". "Insulationism" and "diversification" in New Zealand were different from "import substitution industrialization" elsewhere.

Exploring such themes illuminates difficulties in communication between economists and the policy community generally and suggests potentially-useful approaches to topics like "economic transformation".

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