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Academic linkages: bringing research and evidence into policy

The Treasury is the Government’s lead economic advisor, supporting policy and expenditure decisions that have an impact on New Zealand society. We:

  • Provide advice to the Government on its overarching economic framework and on specific proposals.
  • Act as a steward of the public sector financial management system, helping the Government achieve value for money from its investments and policy decisions.
  • Support a range of analysis where structured data are an important source of evidence.
  • Deliver regular economic and fiscal forecasts and a four-yearly long-term fiscal statement and investment statement.

To support our work, it is important we have access to new ideas and be challenged by fresh thinking, and be well connected to the body of evidence and research on key issues. This is why we aim to build productive and collaborative working relationships with both the academic community and advanced postgraduate students through our academic linkages programme.

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If you are interested in finding out about working at the Treasury as an economist, please see our Careers section.

Research Priorities

Strengthening collaboration and partnering with external researchers in various ways, including sharing ideas and data, is important for lifting the quality of our policy advice. We aim to clearly communicate and engage on the strategic challenges and opportunities facing New Zealand in terms of economic and fiscal performance, and on the most important areas where our capability needs to be strong to provide advice to current and future governments.  We hope this will support and strengthen our relationships with researchers who want their work to be policy-relevant.

The main topics we are focusing on include:

  • How can governments manage the business cycle when operating near the effective lower bound for monetary policy?
  • What are the trends in, structural drivers of, and constraints on New Zealand’s productivity growth?
  • How can financial stability risks be managed in light of domestic imbalances and global financial connectivity?
  • How can New Zealand prepare for the macro-economic impacts of climate change, and how should it adapt its institutions and processes to respond to local climate risks?
  • How can strong economic performance be best promoted such that it ensures that prosperity is sustainable and inclusive?
  • What are the critical drivers of wellbeing and its distribution that could inform policy analysis and technical development of the Living Standards Framework?

If you are working on a research project or programme that will contribute to the advancement of knowledge on the above topics, or would like to collaborate on policy relevant research in these areas, we would very much like to discuss with you. Please get in touch at academic.linkages@treasury.govt.nz.

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Academic Linkages Programme

The NZ Treasury welcomes the opportunity to strengthen our ties with both the academic community and advanced postgraduate students. Our academic linkages programme, which has been operating for a number of years now, comprises a number of initiatives that provide a flexible way of working with academics and postgraduate students alike.

We do this in a variety of ways:

  • The Treasury publishes analytical work by its staff in the Working Paper and Analytical Paper series, which contributes to the research literature and enables ideas to be communicated and shared in a rigorous scholarly format suitable for engagement and critique by external researchers.
  • The Treasury Guest Lecture series provides opportunities for external researchers and experts to share their insights with Treasury staff and the interested public.
  • Visiting Fellows locate at the Treasury for several weeks on-site, where they can gain insights into the Treasury’s analytical work and policy priorities, collaborate on research work with staff, provide feedback and insights on the Treasury’s work, and/or undertake specific projects.
  • We bring on contract researchers with specialist expertise for particular projects.
  • Treasury staff are expected to maintain external networks in their areas of expertise, of economists and others, whom they draw on for insights and testing thinking.
  • We support the Government Economics Network, which provides a variety of training offerings for public sector economists and an annual conference.
  • We support the research community with access to resources including data and information about government policy processes.

More information on the key elements of the Programme is provided below.

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Postgraduate Opportunities

We encourage postgraduate supervisors to contact us to explore ideas or collect data that may form the basis of a research topic. Opportunities to progress or support research may be a formal internship or other arrangement such as peer review. The Treasury occasionally also hosts PhD candidates and postgraduate students to present their work as a guest lecture open to the public (see below) or to an internal audience.

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Guest Lectures

We regularly invite leading researchers and experts from New Zealand and overseas to present a lecture at the Treasury, open to the public. Speakers are invited to present on a particular theme, drawing on their own research and experience in the field, and are encouraged to draw out implications for policy formation. The lectures are intended to provide a source of challenge and intellectual stimulation, and to foster debate within the Treasury and the wider public sector.

Learn more information about guest lecture upcoming events and a guide for invited lecturers.

Subscribe to receive updates on upcoming guest lecture events.

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Visiting Research Fellowships

The Treasury sponsors up to three Research Fellows per year.  Research Fellowships involve the Fellow working on-site at the Treasury premises and sitting with staff, typically for three to six weeks, which need not be taken consecutively.

In some cases, Research Fellows work mostly independently on an agreed project of mutual interest to the Research Fellow and to the Treasury. In other cases, the Fellow works on a project in active collaboration with Treasury staff. In all cases, a Research Fellow will engage informally with staff during their stay. In addition, the Fellows usually deliver a seminar for Treasury staff, or a guest lecture, during their stay.

The Research Fellow’s salary costs will be met by their home institution. The Treasury will contribute funding towards agreed travel and living costs.

Learn more about Visiting Research Fellowships.

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Working Papers and Analytical Papers

The Treasury's aim in publishing Working Papers and Analytical Papers is to make our staff’s research and analytical work visible to a wider audience and to inform and encourage scholarly debate, with the ultimate aim of informing and improving the Treasury's policy advice.

Viewpoints expressed in Working Papers and Analytical Papers are those of the authors, and do not represent official government policy. Research and analysis reported in Working Papers and Analytical Papers is generated in the course of the Treasury’s regular policy advice work and is published as a contribution to the body of knowledge.

The Working Papers series includes new empirical research relevant to understanding the New Zealand economy or the impact of economic policy in New Zealand, theoretical frameworks relevant for understanding microeconomic or macroeconomic behaviour or the impact of a policy proposal, or syntheses of literature.

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Analytical Papers contain analyses of data and other research on a variety of social and economic issues by Treasury staff or commissioned by the Treasury or Ministers.

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Last updated: 
Thursday, 12 March 2020