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Labour Supply in New Zealand and the 2010 Tax and Transfer Changes


  • Creedy, John
  • Mok, Penny


This paper examines the simulated labour supply responses to the personal tax and transfer policy changes introduced in New Zealand in 2010, and the implications for revenue and income distribution. The main changes examined are the increase in the GST rate from 12.5 to 15 per cent, along with reductions in personal income tax rates and increases in the main benefit payments and assistance to families with children, to compensate for the rise in GST. The simulated labour supply responses were obtained using the Treasury’s behavioural microsimulation model, TaxWell-B. The 2009/10 Household Economic Survey (HES) was used. The combined effect of all policy changes is to increase average labour supply slightly for all demographic groups. Labour force participation of sole parents is simulated to increase by 0.86 percentage points. In considering separate components, the change in income tax rates is found to have the largest effect on labour supply. This is not surprising given that it affected a large proportion of the population while the changes to the benefit system and assistance to families with children apply only to certain groups. The reforms are found to be approximately distribution neutral, in terms of the Gini inequality measure of after-tax income per adult equivalent person.

Suggested Citation

  • Creedy, John & Mok, Penny, 2015. "Labour Supply in New Zealand and the 2010 Tax and Transfer Changes," Working Paper Series 4752, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwcpf:4752

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. (IFS), Institute for Fiscal Studies & Mirrlees, James (ed.), 2011. "Tax By Design: The Mirrlees Review," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199553747.
    2. John Creedy, 2005. "An In-Work Payment with an Hours Threshold: Labour Supply and Social Welfare," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(255), pages 367-377, December.
    3. John Creedy & Angela Mellish, 2011. "Changes in the tax mix from income taxation to GST: Revenue and redistribution," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 299-309, May.
    4. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Hsein Kew, 2007. "Confidence Intervals For Policy Reforms In Behavioural Tax Microsimulation Modelling," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 37-65, January.
    5. Joseph Mercante & Penny Mok, 2014. "Estimation of wage equations for New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 14/09, New Zealand Treasury.
    6. Raj Chetty, 2012. "Bounds on Elasticities With Optimization Frictions: A Synthesis of Micro and Macro Evidence on Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 969-1018, May.
    7. John Creedy, 2004. "Labour Supply Incentives in Alternative Tax and Transfer Schemes: A Diagrammatic Introduction," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(2), pages 230-241, June.
    8. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Rosanna Scutella, 2006. "Income distribution in discrete hours behavioural microsimulation models: An illustration," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 57-76, April.
    9. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
    10. Penny Mok & Joseph Mercante, 2014. "Working for Families changes: The effect on labour supply in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 14/18, New Zealand Treasury.
    11. Joseph Mercante & Penny Mok, 2014. "Estimation of Labour Supply in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 14/08, New Zealand Treasury.
    12. Robert Buckle, 2010. "Introduction: Tax policy reform New Zealand style," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 129-136.
    13. John Creedy & Alan S. Duncan & Mark Harris & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "Microsimulation Modelling of Taxation and the Labour Market," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2796.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Creedy & Joseph Mercante & Penny Mok, 2018. "The Labour Market Effects of ‘Working for Families’ In New Zealand," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 51(2), pages 211-231, June.

    More about this item


    Taxes and transfers; Labour supply; Discrete choice model; Microsimulation;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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