Project reports

Please find below a selection of our completed project reports.

Is It Time to Let go of the Past? Effect of Clean Slate Regulation on Employment and Earnings

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We focus on New Zealand’s clean slate legislation to analyze whether automatic concealment of criminal records improves ex offenders’ labor market outcomes. Implementation of the clean slate scheme has no statistically relevant impact on employment propensity. However, the rehabilitative intervention results in a 2-2.5% increase in employed individuals’ monthly earnings.

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The Role of Ethnicity in Criminal Behaviour

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This paper establishes that ethnicity matters for criminal behavior. Exploiting the gender of the first-born child on fathers’ conviction rates, this is the first paper to document behavioral differences in parental criminality between ethnic groups. Based on uniquely detailed administrative data from New Zealand, we show that the effect of having a son on father’s criminal behavior is entirely driven by the white part of the population. This differential effect is confirmed using survey data from the U.S. Our results challenge the effectiveness of policies designed around majority groups.

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Adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Funder: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

This working paper provides a literature review to inform the research programme ‘The experience, expression and transcendence of low skills in Aotearoa New Zealand'. It examines conceptual and definitional issues and relevant aspects of the NZ context, and provides a high level overview of existing evidence. It traces recent developments and debates in the measurement of skills and discusses the implications that arise from these debates in light of the unique bi-cultural context of NZ. It discusses what is meant by ‘skill’ and the related concept of competency, and how these terms are associated with literacy and numeracy. It looks at how the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) defines and measures skills. It also looks at the existing evidence on NZ’s skill levels and patterns and the importance of skills to economic outcomes and wellbeing.

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Reading components, reading engagement and literacy proficiency in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Funder: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

This working paper develops multivariate models of how reading component processes are related to the higher order literacy proficiency assessed by the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) and to adults’ engagement with reading in everyday life.

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An empirical portrait of New Zealand adults living with low literacy and numeracy skills

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Funder: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

The aim of this research paper is to provide a comprehensive portrait of the population living with low literacy and / or numeracy (L/N) skills in NZ. Prior literature argues that “low basic skills levels of adults are a complex policy problem” that does not have “straightforward solutions”. This research paper aims to provide the baseline with which to understand the complex nature and landscape of low L/N skills in NZ

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When there is no way up: Reconsidering low-paid jobs as stepping-stones

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The economic literature considers a low-paid job as a ‘steppingstone’ if it improves jobless individuals’ future likelihood of transitioning towards higher pay. The majority of empirical studies rely on annual surveys and are unable to differentiate individuals by their degree of attachment to the low-paid sector. Using population-wide administrative data with monthly earnings information, our study first confirms the stepping-stone effect. However, our analysis indicates that annual survey-based evidence on the future likelihood of transitioning to higher-paid jobs is likely overstated when respective groups of low-paid workers and non-employed individuals are identified by binary indicators.

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Capping Problem Gambling in NZ: The Effectiveness of Local Government Policy Intervention

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Funder: Ministry of Health

This research analyses the effects of Class 4 gambling policies on the availability of non-casino gambling machines, also known as pokies, and associated gambling behaviour. Around 10 percent of the NZ population is impacted by problem gambling. Those impacts include poor health, psychological distress, financial difficulties and strained interpersonal relationships. Class 4 gambling policies are local government instruments used across NZ communities to restrict or lower the number of pokie machines or venues. The policies are aimed at reducing gambling-related harm. This research exploits both geographic and time variation in gambling policies to assess their impact on pokie machine and venue availability, as well as gambling expenditure.

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The Future of Work in New Zealand: An Empirical Examination

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Funder: Industrial Relations Fund

This report examines the adoption of future-of-work (FoW) practices, processes and technology in New Zealand workplaces. It uses the 2018 Business Operations Survey (BOS) linked to administrative data from Stats NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) and Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) to examine a variety of practices associated with the FoW, covering areas such as employee engagement and inclusion policies, flexible leave and work options, automation and digitalisation, and the use of collective agreements and non-standard work.

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Ethnic differences in the use and experience of child healthcare services in NZ: An empirical examination

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Funder: Ministry of Social Development

The primary objective of this study is to explore ethnic disparities during childhood in the use and experience of healthcare services in NZ. The specific focus is on immunisation, dental checks and the use of GPs. Using GUiNZ data, this study finds that there is heterogeneity between ethnic groups and their rates of children's immunisation and use of other healthcare services

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Auckland’s Pre-Covid-19 Labour Market

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Key Researchers: Lisa Meehan and Juliane Hennecke

We have created a 3-part infographic series on Auckland’s pre-covid-19 labour market. Understanding how the labour market has been impacted by covid-19 should help us answer some meaningful policy questions in future, such as: What will Auckland’s post-covid-19 labour market look like and how can policy help it recover?

Infographic 1: Characteristics

Infographic 2: Snapshot

Infographic 3: Overview & Flows


The Value of Care: the 2017 Pay Equity Settlement

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Key Researchers: Julie Douglas and Katherine Ravenswood

Dr Julie Douglas and Associate Professor Katherine Ravenswood conducted focus groups and interviews with managers and care support workers to understand how the pay equity settlement afftected them. The report 'The Value of Care: Understanding the impact of the 2017 Pay Equity Settlement on the residential aged care, home and community care and disability sectors' was launched in 2019.


The Physical Work Environment

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Key Researchers: Rachel Morrison and Roy Smollan

This project examines how the physical work environment, and the way that change to the physical environment is managed, affects employees on outcomes such as wellbeing, the quality of their interpersonal relationships, and productivity. As part of this project, researchers were involved with analysis

Meredith Connell's move to purpose-built open-plan offices. In 2018, the report 'Living with open plan: a 20 month follow up on the Meredith Connell office move' was published.


Revolutions from Grub Street: A history of the magazine publishing industry

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Key Researchers: Simon Mowatt and Howard Cox (UK)

A comprehensive review of over 300 years of the business of magazine publishing in the UK. This project examined how firms adapted to changing competitive conditions, examining the impacts of technological changes and its impacts on production processes, labour, firm strategy and structure, unions and patterns of employment. A major output was a widely reviewed monograph.


Understanding Insecure Work

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Key Researchers: Gail Pacheco, Philip S. Morrison, Bill Cochrane, Stephen Blumenfeld and Bill Rosenberg

This project began by asking what could learned from the second Survey of Working Life (SoWL) released by Statistics NZ. While some excellent analytic work had resulted from the first SoWL in 2008, there was little official work planned on the second survey, and many issues around insecure work in NZ remained to be addressed.


Religious Diversity in New Zealand Workplaces

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Key Researcher: Edwina Pio

This report focusses on the need to acknowledge that we are now also more religiously diverse than ever before and if we are to live up to our reputation as being one the world’s most peaceful countries then we need to  respect, understand and educate ourselves about all New Zealanders faiths and cultures.


Other reports

Our document library holds reports for surveys, projects, presentations and Big Data. Working papers are also released here regularly.

Document library