Capacity Building

One of Motu’s founding motivations is capacity building. We remain committed to improving the quality of economic research. Public policy in a democracy is built on a complex base of political forces, judgement and ideology. Understanding the facts and analysing the economic forces at work can make a difference in ensuring that policy will work for the long-run wellbeing of Aotearoa New Zealand. Our distinctive contribution to the public policy environment of this country comes from an emphasis on sound empirical analysis, supported by expertise in and knowledge of economic theory and institutional design.


Motu offers paid summer internships. This internship programme is designed to apply and extend students’ empirical skills and assist with their development as researchers. Its underlying aim is to build research capability, improving the skills of young researchers and the quality of New Zealand research. Motu interns work on research projects led by one of the Senior Fellows, and are encouraged to think critically about the public policy and research issues involved. Internships build students’ skills, as well as providing our researchers with useful research assistance. Ultimately, we hope our interns will be better equipped to consider a career in research or public policy analysis.


Summer internships are paid full-time positions that usually run for 8-12 weeks between November and February at our Wellington office. More than 52 young researchers have ‘graduated’ from this programme since 2000.


Find out about our scholarships here.

Research Analysts

Motu offers permanent salaried positions to smart and motivated Honours and Masters graduates. Motu research analysts get hands-on experience of economic and public policy research, building their analytical and research skills and authoring papers alongside senior fellows. Motu has now employed dozens of research analysts who have moved on to PhDs or roles in government. We usually have a strong cohort of about four bright early career economists working on a wide variety of topics.

Further study and future work

Many research analysts that Motu has employed have gone on to complete economics PhDs from top international graduate schools, and many more are currently studying towards their doctorates. These Motu alumni are supported by a scholarship from Motu. One of the PhD graduates – Isabelle Sin – returned to Aotearoa after finishing her doctorate at Stanford and is now a Fellow at Motu.


Other former research analysts and interns have moved into Government work and taken up senior roles at the World Bank, Treasury, the Interim Climate Change Commission, Oranga Tamariki, and other government departments.


Many Motu Senior Fellows teach university courses and supervise thesis students.