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Dr Wesselbaum, of the Otago economics department, said that entries for the 54th annual school had just closed and the 160-strong attendance was up about 15 on last year.
For the first time since 1999, the school would focus exclusively on economic policy, and there was clearly a strong interest, he said.
The school will open tomorrow evening with a keynote address by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters at the St Margaret's College venue.
The school's programme partly reflected an acknowledgement that economics could play a key role in helping to achieve greater equality of various kinds within an individual society, and more equality between developed and developing countries, he said.
The strong international line-up of speakers includes a second Cabinet minister, Minister of Economic Development and Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker.
World Bank Group East Asia and Pacific vice-president Dr Victoria Kwakwa and Economic Growth Centre director at Yale University Prof Mark Rosenzweig were also among the high-profile speakers who would take part in a weekend of discussion on ''Economic Policy in a 21st-Century World: Challenges and Opportunities''.
Since World War 2, the world had generally benefited from playing a ''co-operative game'', including over trade, and countries still faced ''problems that cannot be solved in isolation'', Dr Wesselbaum said.
Despite short-term disruption, he believed the co-operative, multilateral approach was likely to resume.