Commissioned research

The Institute provides commissioned work for a range of external stakeholders. Recent examples are provided below and include Ministry for Women, the Productivity Commission, United Nations Women, and MBIE.

Individualising entitlements in New Zealand’s benefit and social assistance systems
The purpose of this report is to examine the possibility of modernising the welfare and social assistance system to remove or reduce reliance on the couple-based unit of assessment and associated requirement for relationship status testing.
View the report

Parenthood and labour market outcomes
This is a report commissioned by the Ministry for Women, and written in conjunction with Motu. This study combines administrative monthly earnings data, birth records, and survey information on hours worked and earnings to describe the labour market outcomes of men and women as they have children, as well as how parenthood contributes to the gender pay gap in NZ.
View the report
View the summary

Subjective motivations
(for the inclusion of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori in business and organisations that are not kaupapa Māori based)
This project includes a 1000 response survey and nine follow-up interviews to collect data on what motivates or impedes non-Maori organisations to use and promote te reo Māori; the value proposition that te reo Māori has with these organisations; their implementation pathways for the integration of te reo Māori in their business; and approaches to the learning and teaching of linguistic components of language revitalisation that are appropriate to the acquisition of te reo Māori. The project is being undertaken in partnership with Te Ipukarea and the International Centre for Language Revitalisation, both research centres at AUT.

Residential movement within New Zealand: Quantifying and characterising the transient population
The Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit manages a Ministerial fund for social sector research. It is under that umbrella that this project was commissioned. This study presents the first attempt at quantifying the scale of transience and vulnerable transience in NZ, and a description of who these people are. Understanding who is at risk of being transient will inform the work of a number of social sector agencies who deliver services to vulnerable populations.
View the report

Low pay workers in NZ
This research aims to better understand the low pay sector within New Zealand, and the changing nature of this group in recent years. A particular focus of the study was on identifying who is low paid, to build a comprehensive portrait with regard to their individual, household, and job characteristics, over the period 2006 to 2015. This is the first time that the the IDI has been interrogated in this way.
View the report

Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in New Zealand
The size of the gender pay gap in NZ is approximately 12%, based on 2015 data. This is consistent with that found by Dixon (2003), indicating that the gender pay differential hasn’t narrowed in the last decade. We examine this gap with the Oaxaca Blinder decomposition method and find that just over 83% of the gap is unexplained; after controlling for differences in individual, household, occupation, industry and other job characteristics. We also test the robustness of the results with use of a matching approach and continue to find that the unexplained proportion dominates. Finally, we test the hypotheses of a glass ceiling and sticky floor and find evidence in favour of the former, with the proportion of the pay gap that is unexplained rising as we move up the wage distribution.
View the report

Explaining ethnic disparities in bachelor's qualifications
There are substantial ethnic gaps in higher education in NZ, despite more than a decade of considerable policy effort aimed at this concern. This study uses newly linked administrative data to examine the underachievement of Māori and Pasifika relative to Europeans. We follow a population cohort born between 1990 and 1994 from school through to young adulthood to assess the relative contributions of prior academic performance, socioeconomic status and parental education to these gaps.
View the report

Scoping the costs of homelessness in New Zealand
The cost of homelessness to society and to the individual is difficult to measure, which in turn makes it difficult to formulate and evaluate meaningful policy change to address rising homelessness and housing deprivation. This project reviews the international literature on quantifying the cost of homelessness, with a view to identifying methodologies (and the appropriate data) that may be useful in a New Zealand (NZ) context.
View the report

UN Women's Empowerment Principles Survey
The aim of this survey is to uncover policies and practices within New Zealand’s Largest Organisations on behalf of the United Nations Women, with a specific focus on Women’s Empowerment Policies.
View the 2017 report
View the 2016 report
View the 2015 report

The Attitude Gap Challenge: Research evidence and case studies
This project contributed to a multi-agency challenge set up to test the “attitude gap” between youth expectations of employment and employers expectations of work readiness in South Auckland. The challenge was hosted by the Auckland Co-Design Lab and the team used a co-design approach to collect insights on the attitudes, views and experiences of young people, employers, and whanau in South Auckland. The project supported the challenge by providing research summaries of key insight areas, summarising findings from the international and New Zealand literature. Several case studies were also presented, which highlighted interventions that successfully resolved challenges highlighted by the young people, employers and whanau in South Auckland.
View the report

Disability, education and the labour market: A longitudinal portrait for New Zealand
This project utilised unit record data from three waves of the Disability Survey (from Statistics NZ) – 2001, 2006, and 2013. Descriptive analysis was conducted to illustrate trends, as well as provide an up to date summary of people with disabilities and those without across a range of demographic, employment, education and disability related variables. This analysis provided insight as to the size and nature of the disabled population in NZ, and how their economic outcomes have changed over the last 15 years – information that is imperative for policy makers and support providers alike. A key aim of this project was also to illustrate knowledge gaps, and opportunities for further empirical investigation.
View the report and other relevant information.

Legislature providing for accessibility for disabled persons
The research scope of this report is to examine relevant overseas legislative models providing for accessibility for disabled persons and to distinguish therein provisions that might significantly advance current New Zealand accessibility laws.

New ways of working. Flexible working, wellbeing and diversity at CCANZ
This project researched outputs-based (results only) culture in the workplace, and the relationship between this concept and greater flexibility across the organisation. The spotlight was on investigating future of work trends in terms of new ways of working and flexible working arrangements, with particular emphasis on best practice. To complement the findings from the literature, key staff within CCANZ were interviewed with the aim of providing organisational-specific recommendations. This study also assessed the impact of new ways of working on diversity and wellbeing across the organisation.

Y-NEET: Empirical evidence for NZ
This study employs data from the Household Labour Force Survey for the years 2004-2015 to paint a comprehensive portrait of the Y-NEET population in NZ. This is done in terms of age, gender, education, region, and a range of other individual and household characteristics. The literature on predictors of NEET status, as well as outcomes after a period of being NEET are summarised from the relative international and NZ studies. The cost of youth disengagement is also highlighted in terms of the lost productivity, as well as the additional burden on public finances. This cost is constructed for both NZ and Auckland in particular, as well as estimates for different ethnic subgroups across the country.
View the report
View the video

The current and predicted extent of flexible working
With continuing advancements in digital technology, many organisations internationally have adopted virtual communication practices. Flexible working, and in particular remote working, is increasingly recognised as essential for employee engagement, productivity retention and wellbeing. This study explored the prevalence of such practices in the Auckland region of New Zealand in an attempt to understand the extent to which flexible working might impact worker travel behaviour and, with it, Auckland’s future infrastructure requirements. The findings of this report are informed by a multitude of semi-structured interviews with personnel responsible for policy and strategy development related to flexible work in organisations based throughout the Auckland region.