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Income Growth and Earnings Variations in New Zealand, 1998-2004

  • Dean Hyslop
  • Suresh Yahanpath

This article analyses changes in the distributions of working-age individuals' earnings and total income in New Zealand over the period 1998-2004. We find that there have been broad gains in income across the distribution, suggesting the spoils of growth have been shared widely. Mean and median earnings increased 15 and 23 per cent respectively, while mean and median income increased 12-13 per cent. Inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, was more stable: earnings inequality fell 4 per cent, while income inequality was unchanged. The main drivers of the changes were employment and real wage growth. We estimate that roughly one-half of the growth in average incomes was due to employment growth, and one-quarter each to demographic changes and wage growth. The relative employment and wage contributions varied across the income distribution: employment growth dominated gains at the lower end of the distribution, while wage gains dominated changes at the higher end. Copyright 2006 The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

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Article provided by The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research in its journal Australian Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 39 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 293-311

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:39:y:2006:i:3:p:293-311
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  1. Jenkins, Stephen P & Cowell, Frank A, 1994. "Parametric Equivalence Scales and Scale Relativities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 891-900, July.
  2. repec:ese:iserwp:2000-16 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Stephen Jenkins & Philippe Kerm, 2005. "Accounting for income distribution trends: A density function decomposition approach," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 43-61, April.
  4. Lars Osberg, 1998. "Economic Insecurity," Discussion Papers 0088, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  5. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  6. Podder, Nripesh & Chatterjee, Srikanta, 2002. "Sharing the national cake in post reform New Zealand: income inequality trends in terms of income sources," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 1-27, October.
  7. René Böheim & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2000. "Do Current Income and Annual Income Measures Provide Different Pictures of Britain's Income Distribution?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 214, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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