She was founding director of the Wellington thinktan' />

Environmental economist Dr Suzi Kerr is this year's recipient of the NZIER economics award.

She was founding director of the Wellington thinktank Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in 1998 and has returned there after a year as a visiting professor at Stanford University in the United States.

Her Harvard PhD was on the use of cap-and-trade mechanisms to address environmental problems.

The design of emissions trading schemes to mitigate climate change, especially in agriculture, deforestation and land use change, has been a focus of her research and advisory work since then.

Another is the potential use of a cap-and-trade regime to limit nutrient runoff into Lake Rotorua.

Motu has become a high-powered source of research and advice in a range of public policy areas.

Of the 15 previous winners of the NZIER economist of the year award, five are associated in some way with Motu, while another is her uncle, Roger Kerr.