Entries open in Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Challenge
The MPC is open to all New Zealand senior secondary school economics students. It is designed to expand students' understanding of monetary policy and links to NCEA achievement standards.
The MPC involves students becoming, in effect, central bankers. Just like economists working in the Reserve Bank, each team analyses the economic conditions facing New Zealand and the outlook for inflation. On the basis of that analysis, they decide on an appropriate setting for the Official Cash Rate (the Reserve Bank's interest rate).
Teams present the reasons for their decision in a written submission and, if selected as a regional finalist, give an oral presentation to the competition's judges, two Reserve Bank economists. Regional finals will be held in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland during August.
The winning team from each region will be invited to the Reserve Bank to compete in the national final, to be held on 21 August 2008. The winner of the national final will receive a cash prize and its team will be invited to attend the Monetary Policy Statement release in Wellington on 11 September 2008.
Past winners of the competition have included New Plymouth Girls' High School (2007) and St Kentigern College, Auckland (2006).
Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard commented: "This competition brings to life for students the dilemmas that central bankers face. Rather than just expecting students to learn established facts, this competition confronts students with the challenge, ambiguity and uncertainty of actual decision-making."
To help with their assessment of the economy and the outlook for inflation, participants will have access to up-to-date economic data via the Reserve Bank's website.
Entries close on 18 April 2008 and an information pack has been sent to each secondary school. The MPC is run annually and began in 2002.