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Understanding Changes in the Distribution of Household Incomes in New Zealand Between 1983-86 and 1995-98

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Author Info

  • Dean Hyslop
  • Dave Maré

    ()
    (Dean Hyslop: New Zealand Treasury, PO Box 3724, Wellington, New Zealand
    Dave Maré: Motu Economic and Public Policy Research Trust, Wellington, New Zealand)

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of changes in the distribution of gross household income and income inequality over the period 1983–1998. The analysis applies a semiparametric approach to study the effects of changes in the distribution of household types, and changes in National Superannuation (old age pension), household socio-demographic attributes and employment outcomes, and in the “economic returns” to such attributes and employment outcomes on the distribution of income, and uses kernel density methods to estimate these effects. This approach provides a visual appreciation of the shape of the income distribution, and is important in understanding how each of these factors affected different parts of the distribution over the period. We also estimate the effects of each of these factors on changes in various summary measures of inequality over the period. The results find that changes in household structure (particularly the declining proportion of two-parent families), attributes, and employment outcomes each contribute to the observed increase in inequality, while the changes in returns are estimated to reduce the level of inequality. Collectively these factors account for about 50 percent of the observed increase, depending on the measure of inequality used. The results confirm other research findings that the changes were concentrated during the late 1980s.

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File URL: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2001/01-21/twp01-21.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by New Zealand Treasury in its series Treasury Working Paper Series with number 01/21.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:01/21

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Postal: New Zealand Treasury, PO Box 3724, Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64-4-472 2733
Fax: +64-4-473 0982
Web page: http://www.treasury.govt.nz
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Related research

Keywords: Household income distribution; Inequality; Kernel density estimation;

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References

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  1. Mary C. Daly & Robert G. Valletta, 2000. "Inequality and poverty in the United States: the effects of changing family behavior and rising wage dispersion," Working Paper Series 2000-06, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Des O'Dea, 2000. "The Changes in New Zealand's Income Distribution," Treasury Working Paper Series 00/13, New Zealand Treasury.
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Cited by:
  1. John Creedy & Jamas Enright & Norman Gemmell & Nick McNabb, 2008. "Equity and Efficiency Measures of Tax-Transfer Systems: Some Evidence for New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 08/04, New Zealand Treasury.
  2. Sylvia Dixon & David C. Maré, 2005. "Changes in the Maori Income Distribution: Evidence from the Population Census," Working Papers 05_06, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

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