Work In Progress
Multiple research projects are always underway at NZWRI. The projects span multiple research areas, time frames, and levels of complexity. Below are some highlighted projects currently in progress.
Capping problem gambling in New Zealand: the effectiveness of sinking lid policies as a harm reduction strategy
Team: Christopher Erwin (NZWRI, AUT); Alexandra Turcu (NZWRI, AUT); Gail Pacheco (NZWRI, AUT); Kirdan Lees (Sense Partners).
Description: This research aims to analyse the effects of the 'sinking lid' policy on the availability of Class 4 gambling machines and associated gambling behaviour. Sinking lid regulation prevents granting or transferring pokie machine licences to new venues and is a key local government policy instrument used across NZ communities. The policy is aimed at reducing gambling-related harm. This research exploits both geographic and time variation in gambling policy to assess its impact on gaming machine and venue availability, as well as gambling expenditure.
Timeframe: July 2019 - November 2020
Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga
Team: Jarrod Haar (NZWRI, AUT); David Brougham (Massey University); Maree Roche (The University of Waikato).
Description: This research is centred on the unique Human Resource Management (HRM) practices in Aotearoa workplaces. The aim of the project is to discover how Aotearoa HRM practices engage Māori employees and what impact these practices have on the perceptions of both Māori and non-Māori employees. The project follows the principles of kaupapa Māori research around conducting scientifically rigorous positive research while being culturally sensitive and validating the contribution that Māori (and other Indigenous people and minorities) can bring.
Timeframe: October 2019 - September 2020
Low Literacy and Numeracy Skills
The expression, experience and transcendence of low-skill in Aotearoa New Zealand
Team: NZWRI members, a range of external researchers and stakeholders (see the project webpage for more details).
Description: The overarching goal of this project is to provide actionable policy recommendations to improve life-course trajectories and socio-economic outcomes of adults living with low literacy and/or numeracy skills. This research is aimed at shaping the ways in which we deal with literacy and numeracy issues in NZ with a focus on effective intervention.
Timeframe: This $4.3 million fund is for a five-year programme spanning October 2019-2024.
Disparities in Healthcare Access
Ethnic differences in the uptake of healthcare services: A Microanalysis
Team: Gail Pacheco (NZWRI, AUT); Mary Hedges (NZWRI, AUT); Alexander Plum (NZWRI, AUT); Nadia Charania (AUT); El-Shadan Tautolo (AUT); Terryann Clark (The University of Auckland); Sonia Lewycka (The University of Auckland).
Description: There is extensive acknowledgement and evidence that ethnic gaps (particularly for Māori and Pacific Peoples) exist in the rates of GP registration, immunisation and dental checks. Underutilisation of these healthcare services may result in a number of adverse health outcomes in the long term.
This project uses Growing Up in New Zealand data and aims to quantify the contribution of different factors (accessibility, mobility, socio-economic, parental and child characteristics) to ethnic gaps in healthcare service uptake. The key goal is to provide potential policy drivers to assist in closing these gaps.
Timeframe: July 2019 - June 2022
Mobility of Low Pay Workers
Not Much Bounce in the Springboard: On the Mobility of Low Pay Workers
Team: Gail Pacheco (NZWRI, AUT); Alexander Plum (NZWRI, AUT); Peter J. Sloane (Swansea University, Adelaide University & IZA).
Description: Estimating economic earnings mobility is imperative for understanding the degree to which low pay employment is a temporary or long-term position. This study uses monthly integrated data to assess the mobility of low pay workers in NZ.
Prior international research finds there is a greater likelihood of low pay jobs being stepping stones than dead ends. We find that this finding does not hold once we account for intensity of attachment to the low pay sector. Further, results show that those that are low-paid also have a substantially greater risk of experiencing a low pay-no pay cycle relative to those who are intermediate or higher paid.
The Independent Woman
The Independent Woman – Locus of Control and Female Labor Force Participation
Team: Juliane Hennecke (NZWRI, AUT).
Description: Why do some women participate in the labour market and others do not? What role does personality have in these decisions? This project examines the role of the locus of control (LOC) in women’s labour market decisions. The LOC is the degree to which people believe that they have control over their outcomes, as opposed outcomes being determined by external forces that are beyond their control. Using German survey data, this study finds that women who believe they have a high degree of control over their outcomes are more likely to participate in the labour market. However, financial constraints and social norms also play important roles.
Payday Lending and Bankruptcy
The Effect of Interest Caps on Bankruptcy: Synthetic Control Evidence from Recent Payday Lending Bans.
Team: Kabir Dasgupta (NZWRI, AUT); Brenden J. Mason (North Central College).
Description: Do payday loans help or harm consumers? While they offer a convenient form of short-term financing, they can ensnare borrowers into “debt traps”. In four US states, the introduction of interest-rate caps between 2009 and 2011 resulted in an effective ban on payday lending. This project uses this effective ban to examine the effect of payday lending on debt delinquency and bankruptcies. It finds little effect on debt delinquency and bankruptcies. Furthermore, the ban may have made consumers worse off as it led them to use pawnshops instead, which are an even high-cost option.
Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
Performance-based aid, enhanced advising, and the income gap in college graduation: evidence from a randomized controlled trial.
Team: Christopher Erwin (NZWRI, AUT); Melissa Binder (University of New Mexico); Kate Krauss (University of New Mexico); Cynthia Miller (MDRC).
Description: Income gaps in college enrollment, persistence, and graduation raise concerns for those interested in equal opportunity in higher education. We present findings from a randomly assigned scholarship for low-income students. The program led to meaningful decreases in time to degree, which appears to be driven by students with the lowest academic preparation and family income. Compared to the control group, participants indicated high satisfaction with the program’s model of enhanced academic advising.