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Waikato economist named Economist of the Year

Media Release
3 September, 2008

Waikato economist named NZIER Economist of the Year

Professor John Gibson of the University of Waikato Management School has been named Economist of the Year by the independent research group, NZIER.

Sponsored by the National Business Review, the $15,000 NZIER award recognises outstanding contributions, of lasting importance to New Zealand, to the field of economics.

A prolific researcher, Prof Gibson is also a frequent – and often critical -- commentator on controversial issues such as KiwiSaver and NZ Superannuation and the growing gap between public sector and private sector pay.

Accepting the award last week, Prof Gibson said he had always been interested in engaging with public policy debate, but that research-based findings were not always reflected in policy directions chosen by government. He also encouraged more university-based economists to become involved in public policy debates.

“John richly deserves this award for his tireless pursuit of answers to important economic questions of our time,” said fellow economist and Dean of Waikato Management School, Professor Frank Scrimgeour. “The NZIER citation notes how John’s students and colleagues have learnt from him how vital it is to ask meaningful questions, gather reliable data, analyse those data rigorously, and then to disseminate the findings in a way that will inform debate on the issue.”

John Gibson took a bachelors and masters degree in agricultural science at Lincoln University before completing his PhD at Stanford University in the United States in 1998. He first joined the faculty at Waikato Management School in 1991 and recently rejoined in 2006.

He is currently a Senior Research Associate at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC. His other research interests include poverty measurement, where he has been a member of an expert group advising the United Nations Statistical Division, the design and analysis of household survey data, and economic development, especially in China and other Asian and Pacific economies.

He is currently involved in several joint research projects, including one with Stanford University in the United States and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to map poverty and environmental change in China, and one with the World Bank, Motu and the Department of Labour to study migration from the Pacific Islands to New Zealand.


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