Video: Capital explained in under 10mins!

I’ve just popped up a video where I am to explain what “capital” is, in terms of a factor of production in an economic sense, in under 10 minutes.

The goal was to work out what capital is (and isn’t), to describe the difference between tangible and intangible capital, and to give a feeling for how we can add up quite different capital items.

Hopefully outlining what capital is will make the research discussed here and published here a bit more useful.

Keen for your thoughts 🙂

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The story of JM the lawnmower: Productivity and unemployment

This week Matt and me followed around a lawnmower man to figure out what productivity and unemployment are – and how we would think about measuring them. Feel free to give these videos a watch below 🙂

Video: Economic growth

In this video I outline the structure for thinking about economic growth – and point out how much of society’s progress has been due to our knowledge, organisation, and specialisation due to scale rather than unsustainable resource use.

Hope it is an issue I can go more deeply on soon.

Measuring GDP and inequality

Hi all,

I’ve finished lecturing for the year early and so Gulnara and me have decided to put up some videos on measuring GDP and inequality.

We’ve both been quite keen to pop together a short book and short series of videos on different economic indicators and how to interpret them – as it is an area where we think there is some accidental miscommunication in New Zealand. Hoping that we’ll have some time over the rest of the year – in which case we’ll be popping all of that up here.

Videos just below:

NZ GDP at record highs?

It has been a long time since I’ve closely followed New Zealand macroeconomic statistics – but I was a bit surprised seeing the headline “GDP jump of 14 per cent completes NZ’s ‘V’-shaped recovery“.

Cliffs notes to this post – it was a strong result, but September likely wasn’t the strongest quarter on record, and real economic activity is still probably down a little bit. You gotta be careful with seasonal adjustment during “shock and turning points” – and Stats NZ did actually even tell us this in their release!

Update: As Economissive notes I can’t read and this was up on a year ago – good shout this was a dumb thing to miss. Dang that is a strong GDP result!

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COVID-19 is a watershed moment for government involvement in the economy

The RBNZ released a report estimating the economic impact of COVID-19 containment measures back in May. They estimate that one week of alert level four (L4) costs the economy about $2.2 billion in GDP. Stats NZ recently registered a 12.2% fall in GDP for the June quarter. Sobering stuff.  These are big, scary numbers. Scarier still for those in tourism or hospitality who are wearing a disproportionate amount of that cost. Clearly there is substantial economic suffering, but how can we think about government responses?

About the author: Byte Size Story connects everyday economic issues with the big picture. The views expressed here are the authors. If you have any questions about the post please email

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