A long career in population studies

28 February 2018

Jacques Poot web
Emeritus Professor Jacques Poot.

One of New Zealand’s most creative economists, Jacques Poot, has been awarded the title of Emeritus Professor by the University of Waikato.

Professor Poot has had a major influence on economic research on the causes and consequences of internal and international migration, regional labour and housing markets, and the demographic impacts of economic growth.

The professor of population studies was named New Zealand Economist of the Year in 2013 and his models of international migration and the New Zealand economy radically changed how the impact of immigration is evaluated, and subsequently impacted immigration economics and policy in New Zealand.

His research integrated assessment of demand, trade, labour market, growth and fiscal effects of demographic changes.

Up until his recent retirement, Professor Poot was based at the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis at the University of Waikato, the only national institute of demographic and population-focused research in New Zealand.

He says he came to New Zealand from The Netherlands several times during the 1960s to visit family members who’d moved here after WWII. His family had been dairy farmers since the 17th century and many of them settled in the Waikato and carried on the farming tradition. Professor Poot didn’t take up farming, but when the opportunity came to work in New Zealand he jumped at the chance and first worked at Victoria University in Wellington. He was made Director of the Population Studies Centre at the University of Waikato in 2004.

He was the principal investigator of the gold-rated, six-year project ‘Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa New Zealand’ and over the years he has led or co-led other large-scale MBIE-, FoRST- and Marsden-funded projects, helping to establish the University of Waikato as a national leader in population studies.

On campus, he had a reputation for being meticulous with his preparation and for having high expectations. His colleagues say he was outstanding, always courteous and professional, especially mentoring junior colleagues and encouraging them in their careers.