Oecd Economic Surveys: New Zealand (Oecd Economic Surveys, by Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

By Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

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Extra info for Oecd Economic Surveys: New Zealand (Oecd Economic Surveys, 3)

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By contrast, FDI outflows are rather small, consistent with the fact that there are relatively few large New Zealand-based international companies. Finally, the labour market is highly integrated with Australia’s as a result of the absence of work or residence restrictions between the two countries and New Zealanders’ high labour mobility, and gross migration flows (of non-New Zealanders as well as nationals) are comparatively large (see Chapter III). New Zealand’s traditional comparative advantage in primary exports, together with past import protection policies, is one of the factors underlying the low trade intensity.

On the first question, the balance of evidence suggests that broadly defined transactions costs have been falling over time (McCann, 2003). However, there are countervailing forces such as the trend towards more frequent “just in time” production methods, for which the handicap of isolation may have intensified in those types of industries. It is clear that communication has also become cheaper and easier, but the importance of face-to-face contact may have increased in areas where goods and services are complex and thus trust becomes a factor (though it will have fallen where products have become more commodotised).

Among the possible culprits, three in particular have been often mentioned: the combined effect of the small size of the New Zealand economy and its distance from its main markets; its comparative advantage in agricultural products, whose world market tends to grow relatively slowly and is encumbered by trade barriers (Briggs and Ballingall, 2001); and the adverse © OECD 2004 46 OECD Economic Surveys: New Zealand effects on investment of a higher cost of capital, possibly connected to the high level of external debt.

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