Research Outputs

Working papers

Skills & Life-course Trajectories of NZ Adults

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This paper examines the life-course trajectories of NZ adults across different skill levels in literacy and numeracy. Findings show that adults with low measured skills have less favourable outcomes in a number of areas. They have lower rates of educational attainment, lower employment rates and average earnings, higher rates of hospitalisation, and higher rates of criminal offending and convictions.

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Skills & Outcomes of NZ Youth

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This research paper examines the life-course trajectories of a cohort of NZ youth using linked administrative data to track their outcomes. It finds that students with low measured skills have less favourable outcomes in a number of areas. Outcomes for Māori in both the low-skills and above-baseline groups are less favourable than those of their NZ European counterparts.

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Human Capital Formation and Changes in Low Pay Persistence

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This paper aims to broaden understanding of how persistence in low pay changes over time. We utilise population-wide tax records to track monthly labour market trajectories of workers who are observed in low paid employment during the initial period of analysis.

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Skills, Economic Crises and the Labour Market

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This paper examines the effect of two major economic setbacks, the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09, and the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, on wage progression for different skill level New Zealanders. The analysis links PIAAC survey data with Inland Revenue tax data to assess if higher skills help mitigate the negative impacts of an economic crisis.

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Low Skills Intersectionality

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This working paper focuses on the distribution of adult literacy and numeracy skills in Aotearoa/New Zealand, using quantitative intersectionality and Critical Race Theory. This work uncovers the complex relationships between Indigeneity, gender, socioeconomic status, and adult skills when such characteristics are assumed to be interdependent. Taking a strengths-based approach, the paper redefines groups previously classified as “low skill” as “high potential”.

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Reading Engagement and Wellbeing

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This research paper aims to disentangle the effects of two different aspects of literacy, literacy proficiency as measured by standardized tests, and reading engagement as measured by self-reports of everyday reading activities. The paper uses multivariate regression models on nationally representative survey data from New Zealand, to estimate the effects of reading engagement on earnings, health, social trust, political efficacy, and civic engagement.

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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 identifying key aspects of the L+N intervention landscape including high-level government policy and strategy, specific provider and referral pathways, and the type of individuals for whom L+N learning is designed.

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

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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We also developed an infographic to accompany and summarise some of our findings:

Infographic

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.The differences observed in those relationships suggest that the use of practice-centred instructional strategies and designs for intervention programs may be particularly helpful to those living with low literacy.

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Adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand: Context, conceptual issues and existing evidence

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This working paper provides a literature review to inform this research programme. It examines conceptual and definitional issues and relevant aspects of the New Zealand (NZ) context, and provides a high level overview of existing evidence. 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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Journal Articles & Reports

Empirical analysis of Pacific, Māori and ethnic pay gaps in New Zealand

The Pacific workforce and the impact of COVID-19

When There is No Way Up: Reconsidering Low-paid Jobs as Stepping-stones

Presentations

Wellington & Auckland Workshop
Date: 22 - 23 September 2022

WEA, 97th Annual Conference
Date: May 2022

62nd Annual Conference of the New Zealand Association of Economists
Date: May 2022

2022 AERA Annual Meeting
Date: April 2022

International PIAAC Research Conference 2022
Date: March 2022

AEFP 47th Annual Conference
Date: March 2022

9th GEBF Conference Bamberg
Date: March 2022

New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum
Date: 8 September 2021

The Pacific Days Show - Pacific Media Network 531pi
Date: 12 May 2021

Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Cultural Capability - Ako Aotearoa
Date: 14 April 2021

New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum
Date: 12 November 2020

Some of the topics covered include:
Supporting practice-based learning with digital technologies; Development and Early Delivery of a Degree Apprenticeship Model for Engineering Education; Working and learning together: Lessons learned from tutor capability building in Aotearoa New Zealand; and How do vocational literacy and language learning take place in an online and distance context?

Partners

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