Economic Drivers

A number of economic drivers you might want to consider

Population and labour force

  • Size and composition are important.
  • Regional labour force participation rates are strongly correlated with regional GDP per capita.

Dependance ratios

By dividing a region’s population by its labour force, we can derive a measure of “dependency” for that region.

The higher the dependency ratio, the more output a single person in the labour force must produce to provide for consumption amongst other people in the population (for a given level of regional consumption).

  • Age structure and internal migration
  • Working age portion of regional populations comprises those aged 15-65 years old. Changes in population age structure will also depend critically on inter-regional migration patterns

Human capital

The knowledge and skills, or human capital, possessed by a region’s workforce are a particularly important element of economic activity. The contribution of skills and knowledge acquired “on-the-job”, as opposed to through formal training, may in fact be considerable.


The depth of an economy’s capital stock is a vital explanatory variable for understanding differences in economic growth.

Overseas investment

Overseas Investment Commission has data on this but it reflects the number of consents given rather than actual investment.


A region’s endowments of land can have important implications for its potential growth performance and industrial structure. Differing returns on agricultural land use may be explained by different price sensitivities for pastoral, horticultural and forestry exports.

Business demographics

Statistics New Zealand produces annual data on the number of enterprises “created” and “destroyed” by region. See below.

Economic development spending

One factor that may influence the creation and survival prospects of new enterprises in any region is the amount of economic development expenditure carried out by local authorities.

Source: Ministry of Economic Development, NZ

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