Simon Chapple was born and raised in Auckland. He has economics degrees from the University of Auckland (MCom, 1st class hons), Cambridge University (MPhil) and Victoria University (DPhil).
He has worked in a research and policy advisory capacity for a range of government agencies, including the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development as Chief Economist, and the Department of Labour, as well as having private sector experience at the NZIER. Internationally, he has worked for UNCTAD in Geneva and in the OECD Social Policy Division in Paris.
Academically, he's been a Senior Research Fellow in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health & Development Research Unit, Otago University. He was Director of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington between 2017 and 2023. His current research interests include economic dimensions of public policy and governance and 19th-century Māori demographic history.