Project reports

Please find below a selection of our completed project reports.

Glass hearts?! Successful visible ethnic minority women migrants at work in Iceland and New Zealand

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Our qualitative empirical research reveals, and compares, how visible ethnic women migrants (VEWM) experience their journey to professional success in Iceland and New Zealand. The findings reveal that for VEWM success is a continuous journey with many different challenges. For VEWM in Iceland, success means independent hard work and aligning with other women. VEWM in New Zealand experience success through religion and giving back to the community.

Journal: Journal of Management and Organization

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The Effectiveness of Sinking Lid Policies in Reducing Gambling Expenditure

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Sinking lids are designed to gradually reduce machine caps by prohibiting the transfer of gaming licenses. This study leverages variation in the geography and timing of local policy interventions to estimate the effect of sinking lids on gambling expenditure. Results suggest that sinking lids reduce gambling expenditure by 13% relative to regions not adopting policies beyond national-level restrictions.

Journal: Journal of Gambling Studies

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Adult literacy and numeracy intervention landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand

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This working paper describes the literacy and numeracy (L+N) intervention landscape in Aotearoa ascertained from discussions with key stakeholders in the sector. These discussions were focused on high-level government policy and strategy, specific provider and referral pathways, and the type of individuals for whom L+N learning is designed.

Funder(s): Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

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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. Using population-wide administrative data with monthly earnings information, our study first confirms the stepping-stone effect but also indicates that annual survey-based evidence on the future likelihood of transitioning to higher-paid jobs is likely overstated.

Journal: Economic Record

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Youth Unemployment and Stigmatization Over the Business Cycle in Europe

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This paper studies the dynamics of the scarring effect of youth unemployment over the business cycle in 12 European countries. On the one hand, we analyse differences associated with the negative effect of past unemployment experiences on future labour market status. And, on the other hand, we consider the potential stigmatization of prospective young workers.

Journal: Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics

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Benchmarking the Productivity Performance of New Zealand's Frontier Firms

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This study compares the relative performance of New Zealand’s firms to several small advanced economies using novel cross-country microdata from CompNet. Results show that New Zealand’s firms have comparatively low productivity levels and that its frontier firms are not benefiting from the diffusion of best technologies outside the nation.

Journal: International Productivity Monitor

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The effect of upzoning on house prices and redevelopment premiums in Auckland

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We study the short-run effects of a large-scale upzoning on house prices and redevelopment premiums in Auckland, New Zealand. Upzoning significantly increases the redevelopment premium. Notably, intensively developed properties decrease in value relative to similar dwellings that were not upzoned, showing that the large-scale upzoning had an immediate depreciative effect on preexisting intensive housing.

Journal: Urban Studies

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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. We show that the effect of having a son on father’s criminal behavior is entirely driven by the white part of the population.

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Performance-based aid, enhanced advising, and the income gap in college graduation

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Income gaps in college enrollment, persistence, and graduation raise concerns for those interested in equal opportunity in higher education. The program focused solely on the first four semesters of enrollment and tied aid disbursements to modest academic benchmarks and enhanced academic advising. Meaningful decreases in time to degree appear to be driven by students with the lowest academic preparation and family income.

Journal: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

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Impact of state children’s health insurance program on fertility of immigrant women

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Insurance Programme (SCHIP) to provide publicly funded health insurance coverage for children in low-income families. We estimate the effect of a publicly funded children’s health insurance benefit on immigrant women’s fertility. We find a significant positive effect on the fertility of unmarried immigrant women, both at the extensive and at the intensive margin.

Journal: Applied Economics Letters

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Do you really want to share everything? The wellbeing of work-linked couples

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Work as well as family life are crucial sources of human wellbeing, which however often interfere. Our results suggest that being work-linked increases satisfaction with life as well as income and job satisfaction. These findings are consistent with positive assortative matching and mutual career support between work-linked partners.

Journal: IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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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. This research assesses the impact of Class 4 gambling policies on pokie machine and venue availability, as well as gambling expenditure.

Funder(s): Ministry of Health

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

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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.

Funder(s): Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

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

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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.

Funder(s): Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

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Adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand

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This working paper provides a literature review to define ‘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.

Funder(s): Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

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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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Evaluating the impact of 20 hours free early childhood education on mothers’ labour force participation and earnings

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New Zealand introduced a substantial childcare subsidy just over a decade ago, providing 20 hours free early childhood education (ECE) to all three and four year olds. The estimated impact of the ECE reform is a drop in earnings for eligible women, by four to ten percent post-childbirth. Furthermore, most of the reduction occurs prior to the children reaching the age of eligibility.

Journal: New Zealand Economic Papers

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The devil is in the details: Identifying the unbiased link between access to alcohol and criminal behavior

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The minimum alcohol purchasing age in New Zealand was lowered from 20 to 18 in December 1999. Focusing on two distinct legislative regimes, we utilize a national-level census of criminal convictions to examine the impact of unrestricted alcohol purchasing rights on alcohol-related crime. We do not find a statistically meaningful increase in overall measures of alcohol-related crimes at the minimum legal alcohol purchasing age.

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Not Much Bounce in the Springboard: On the Mobility of Low Pay Workers

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Estimating economic earnings mobility is imperative for understanding the degree to which low pay employment is a temporary or long-term position. We find that individuals with a strong attachment to the low pay sector have a very low probability of shifting into higher pay and a greater risk of experiencing a low pay-no pay cycle relative to those who are intermediate or higher paid.

Journal: IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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In and out of unemployment-labour market dynamics and the role of testosterone

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In this paper, we use population variation in testosterone levels to explain transition probabilities into and out of unemployment. We find that individuals with high testosterone levels are more likely to become unemployed, but they are also more likely to exit  nemployment. We argue that these effects are likely driven by personality traits and occupational sorting of men with high testosterone levels.

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Child gender, ethnicity, and criminal behavior after birth

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This paper aims to challenge the implicitly made assumption in the economics of crime literature that findings are universally applicable across cultures and race. We replicate the results of an earlier study by Dustmann and Landersø (2018) in New Zealand and find that when splitting out by ethnicity, the effect is entirely driven by the white part of the population.

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Does broad-based merit aid improve college completion? Evidence from New Mexico's lottery scholarship

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We use the natural experiment of a state lottery scholarship to measure the effect of generous financial aid on graduation rates at New Mexico’s flagship public university. We find a significant positive completion effect of 10 percentage points (17.9 percent) for academically well-prepared students that is offset by a large negative effect of 11.6 percentage points (38.8 percent) for less-prepared students.

Journal: Education, Finance and Policy

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Productivity in New Zealand: The role of resource allocation among firms

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This paper analyses the role of resource allocation in NewZealand’s productivity performance by applying a three-factor revenue productivity measure of within-industry misallocation to firm-level data. It finds that if all market distortions were eliminated, total factor productivity could increase by more than a third.

Journal: New Zealand Economic Papers

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The effect of interest rate caps on bankruptcy: Synthetic control evidence from recent payday lending bans

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Citing consumer protection concerns, several states have recently enacted interest rate caps on small loans. We test whether these laws caused a decrease in the number of payday-lending establishments and subsequently prompted variation on incidence of bankruptcy filings. Our results show payday-lending establishments drop by approximately 100%–a banishment of the industry.

Journal: Journal of Banking and Finance

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Suddenly a stay-at-home dad? The effect of fathers’ job loss on time investment in the household

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We provide novel evidence on the short- and long-run effects of an exogenous shock on paternal availability, through a job loss, on the allocation of domestic work within couples. We find that paternal child care and housework significantly increase in the short run on weekdays, while we do not see any similar shifts on weekends.

Journal: IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Drinking is different! Examining the role of locus of control for alcohol consumption

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We examine whether locus of control (LOC) can explain alcohol consumption as an important domain of health behavior. LOC measures how much an individual believes that she is in control of the consequences of her own actions for her life’s future outcomes. We find a significant positive effect of having an internal LOC on the probability of moderate and regular drinking.

Journal: IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Auckland’s Pre-Covid-19 Labour Market

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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


Health Care Home: Early Evidence from Linked Administrative Data in New Zealand

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Our analysis presents a case study on the impacts of Health Care Home (HCH) – a large-scale technology-based healthcare innovation in New Zealand’s primary healthcare system. HCH results in a statistically significant reduction in the likelihood of emergency department (ED) presentations by 6-8 percent, with no significant impacts on other health outcomes.

Journal: The BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy

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Understanding the transient population: insights from linked administrative data

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There is growing evidence that frequent residential relocation is often associated with adverse socio-economic outcomes related to education, health and wellbeing. Prior research aimed at exploring the extent of residential movement has usually been restricted to survey evidence or infrequent census data. We derive working definitions for the transient and vulnerable transient.

Journal: Journal of Population Research

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An empirical examination of the gender pay gap in New Zealand

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New Zealand has often been described as a leader in the field of gender equality. Yet, while women have achieved substantial gains in a range of outcomes (education and labour force participation for example), the gender pay gap has changed very little. We find that this gap is largely unexplained (83 per cent).

Journal: New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations

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Explaining ethnic disparities in bachelor’s degree participation: Evidence from NZ

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There are substantial ethnic gaps in higher education in NZ, despite 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. Utilising Fairlie decompositions, we find that school performance is by far the largest contributor to the ethnic gaps.

Journal: Studies in Higher Education

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The British low-wage sector and the employment prospects of the unemployed

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The labour market dynamics of unemployed, low-paid and higher-paid employed men are analysed. Moreover, the respective (un)employment duration and occupational skill level are accounted for. Results show that in general low wages significantly reduce the risk of future unemployment and increase the chances of ascending the salary ladder, especially in the case of long-term unemployment (>360 days).

Journal: Applied Economics

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Local unemployment changes the springboard effect of low pay: Evidence from England

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There is considerable debate on whether the employment and earnings prospects are better for those on low pay or for the unemployed. We estimate dynamic random effects panel models, which show robust evidence that the future unemployment risk is lower for those who are currently on low pay compared to those who are currently unemployed. The low-paid also have a higher chance than the unemployed of becoming higher-paid.

Journal: PLoS One

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Youth response to state cyberbullying laws

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This study examines the relationship between state cyberbullying laws (which require schools to enact effective guidelines to address cyberbullying) and the reporting behavior of youth. Key results indicate that adoption of a cyberbullying law is related to statistically significant increases in the likelihood that students report experiences of being victimized by electronic bullying.

Journal: New Zealand Economic Papers

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The Physical Work Environment

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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.

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The impact of child welfare legislation on domestic violence‐related homicide rates

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State‐specific statutes providing legal consequences for perpetrating domestic violence in the presence of a child have been enacted across the United States between 1996 and 2012. We find a significant drop in domestic violence‐related homicide rates, when considering a wide range of victim–offender relationships. However, this result does not hold for marital homicides, suggesting that for this subpopulation, the risk of reprisaland consequent reduction in reporting may be counterbalancing the hypothesized deterrent impacts of the legislation.

Journal: Health Economics

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Warrantless arrest laws for domestic violence: How are youth affected?

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This study empirically examines the impact of warrantless arrest laws (designed to deter domestic violence) on multiple youth outcomes in the US. There is no direct link between warrantless arrest laws and domestic violence‐related homicides. However, we do find evidence that arrest laws result in a drop in the probability of youth experiencing suicidal ideation and substance use behaviour.

Journal: BE Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

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Making the invisible visible: Advancing quantitative methods in higher education using critical race theory and intersectionality

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We appeal to critical race theory and intersectionality to examine achievement gaps at a large public university in the American southwest from 2000 to 2015. Using white, high-income women as our reference group, we find substantial achievement gaps that remain unseen in conventional models treating such characteristics as independent.

Journal: Race, Ethnicity and Education

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Family size effects on childhood obesity: Evidence on the quantity-quality trade-off using the NLSY

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In this study, we use matched mother-child data from the National Longitudinal Surveys to study the effects of family size on child health. Focusing on excess body weight indicators as children’s health outcome of interest, we examine the effects of exogenous variations in family size generated by twin births and parental preference for mixed sex composition of their children. We find no significant empirical support in favor of the quantity-quality trade-off theory in instrumental variable regression analysis.

Journal: Economics & Human Biology

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The Value of Care: the 2017 Pay Equity Settlement

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Dr Julie Douglas and Associate Professor Katherine Ravenswood conducted focus groups and interviews with managers and care support workers to understand how the 2017 Pay Equity Settlement on the residential aged care, home and community care and disability sectors' affected their work experiences.

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Temporary-permanent wage gap: Does type of work and location in distribution matter?

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This study focusses on the pay outcome with respect to the temporary workforce in New Zealand. Our findings signal that the majority of the temporary-permanent wage differences can be explained by observable characteristics, with no wage gap evident for fixedterm workers. We also find varying effects across the wage distribution.

Journal: Australian Journal of Labour Economics

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Does integration lead to lower costs of equity?

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Recent evidence has suggested that the benefits of equity market integration may not be shared equally by all firms. Making use of a firm-level measure of integration we investigate whether one of the documented benefits of equity market integration, lower cost of equity capital (COEC), holds for all Australian firms. Our results indicate that increased integration at the firm level leaves firms exposed to higher COEC when world market conditions are volatile.

Journal: Australian Journal of Management

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Becoming unemployed and poor in Great Britain

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In this study on Great Britain, we estimate the labour market and income process of prime-aged men simultaneously and control for spillover effects. Evidence is presented that the risk of becoming unemployed and poor increases with the duration of unemployment and decreases with the duration of employment.

Journal: Applied Economics Letters

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Scoping the costs of homelessness in New Zealand

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This report 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. We conduct a survey of the literature and a data scoping exercise within this report - the data is sourced from the newly available linked administrative data (Integrated Data Infrastructure) available from Statistics NZ.

Funder(s): Lottery Community Sector Research Committee

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The Attitude Gap Challenge: Research Evidence and Case Studies

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The purpose of this report is to provide a short research summary of each of the six key focus areas, summarising research findings from international and New Zealand (NZ) literature. Furthermore, several of the key focus areas also include case studies which provide examples of how companies implemented specific strategies which enabled them to overcome the challenges associated with that area.

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Y-NEET: Empirical Evidence for New Zealand

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Reducing the number of youth not in employment, education, or training (Y-NEET) has become a key focus of government policies. We found that 12% of youth aged 16-24 years in NZ were NEET; 65% of all Y-NEETs resided in either the Auckland, Waikato, Wellington or Canterbury local government regions; Y-NEETs were generally more likely to be aged 20-24 years; female; and be of NZ European or Maori descent.

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Religious Diversity in New Zealand Workplaces

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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 New Zealanders' faiths and cultures.

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Understanding Insecure Work

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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.

Funder(s):  Ministry of Innovation, Business and Employment

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The changing influence of societal culture on job satisfaction across Europe

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This paper investigates the longitudinal stability and impact of societal cultural values (SCVs) – as opposed to the more common organizational values – on job satisfaction. Results indicate that the strength of many SCVs has declined, the impacts of traditional societal values on job satisfaction have remained fairly constant, and the impacts of survival societal values on job satisfaction have declined substantially over this sample period.

Journal: British Journal of Management

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Changes in intra-city employment patterns: a spatial analysis

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This analysis is aimed at better understanding what socio-economic actors are associated with shifts in unemployment rates across a major metropolitan city. The key socio-economic drivers associated with intra-city employment dynamics were vehicle access, dependency rates and educational attainment.

Journal: International Journal of Social Economics

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Job satisfaction: How crucial is participative decision making?

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The purpose of this paper is to empirically examine the role of perceived ability to participate in decision making in the workplace, with respect to job satisfaction. The results are negatively biased; potentially indicating that prior research may have underestimated the impact of participative decision making (PDM) on job satisfaction. Additionally, it appears clear that the magnitude of the marginal effects for both socio-demographic and work characteristics do not differ when comparing workers with above and below average participation.

Journal: Personnel Review

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Temporary versus permanent employment: Does health matter?

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Poor health may inhibit active participation in the labour market and restrict the types of employment available to an individual. This paper uses recent survey data from New Zealand to find that health issues (and in particular mental health) are negatively related to the likelihood of being employed; and entering full-time and / or permanent employment.

Journal: Australian Journal of Labour Economics

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Is temporary employment a cause or consequence of poor mental health? A panel data analysis

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Mental health status often has a strong association with labour market outcomes. We reveal that permanent workers with poor mental health appear to select into temporary employment thus signalling that prior studies may overestimate the influence of employment type on mental health. We also reveal that this selection effect is significantly mitigated by job satisfaction.

Journal: Social Science & Medicine

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Student engagement and exam performance: It’s (still) ability that matters most

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The use of online quizzes has become more popular in introductory economics courses in recent years, however their efficacy in improving student engagement and performance has seldom been evaluated. This paper attempts to undertake an evaluation of that efficacy by combining individual engagement and exam performance data with demographic information for a cohort of students enrolled in a first year economics course.

Journal: Australiasian Journal of Economics Education

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Moving through the political participation hierarchy: A focus on personal values

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Using data from the European Social Survey, we investigate the relationship between political participation and personal values, using the Schwartz (1992) values inventory. A political participation hierarchy is theorized, and activities are categorized into four levels of participation (none, weak, medium and strong), based on the cost of participating and how unconventional the activity is. Empirical analysis points to individuals who are more open to change and more self-transcendent, being more likely to participate.

Journal: Applied Economics

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Telework briefing: A future of work programme report

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In mid-2013 we conductedinterview with workers in sectors commonly associated with telework: financial services; professional, scientific and technical services; information, media and telecommunications etc. This briefing document summarises the key lessons on managing telework learned from these organisations in order to provide guidance for managers implementing or reviewing telework within their organisations.

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

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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.

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Trans-Tasman Telework Survey

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The primary aim of this study was to examine manager and employee perspectives on telework productivity and wellbeing. The study surveyed almost 100 HR and team managers and over 1800 staff across 50 Australian and New Zealand organisations. Managers were interviewed on issues such as telework policy, processes, attitudes and outcomes, while organisational members were surveyed on-line on their telework experience, with a focus on support for telework, telework productivity, and wellbeing outcomes.

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Other reports

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

Document library