Category Archives: Distributional Economics

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Paper to the Fabian Society, 12 October, 2016   While we continue to chew over the carcass of the Fourth Labour Government – the Lange-Douglas one – we pay little attention to the subsequent Fifth Labour Government. Yet the Clark-Cullen one is greatly shaping the current Labour Opposition and the current National Government. It will,…
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DOES INEQUALITY AFFECT ECONOMIC GROWTH?

The OECD says yes; how do we respond? Pundit: 15 December, 2014. Keywords: Distributional Economics; Growth & Innovation; A recently released OECD report concludes that economic inequality hurts economic growth, and has particularly done so for New Zealand. Some of our responses were plain bizarre. Either the non-economic commentators had not understood the issue or…
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PENALISING THE POOR

Sloppy analysis is dividing us into the deserving and undeserving   Pundit: 3 November, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   Being no expert on domestic violence, I looked at the Glenn inquiry’s The People’s Report to see what it had to say about causes. I had expected a summary of the research literature…
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DOES PIKETTY MATTER?

Thomas Piketty says economic inequality has been getting greater in the world, and will get greater. What about New Zealand?   Pundit: 28 October, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy;   Paul Krugman has said “Thomas Piketty has transformed our economic discourse; we’ll never talk about wealth and inequality the…
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RISING TOP INCOMES

This was not published: 22 May, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Political Economy & History;   Thomas Picketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century ‘has transformed our economic discourse; we’ll never talk about wealth and inequality the same way we used to’. So said Paul Krugman explicitly and ever so many other eminent economists implicitly…
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Chips with Everything

Chips with Everything It is a fallacy to claim the poor just need financial advice to improve their lot.   Listener: 10 April, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   I was working on a standard-of-living case and was shown figures prepared by an approved budget advisory service for Meg and her daughter Stacey…
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Been Counters

Statistical errors aren’t unusual – so it’s important to measure their effects.   Listener: 13th March, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics;   There was a bit of flapdoodle recently when the Treasury and Statistics New Zealand owned up to having made an error in some household income statistics, which had a knock-on effect on…
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Child Poverty

Listener:  8 February, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   I hope Brian Easton (Economy, January 25) is right that child poverty is at last accepted by the conventional wisdom. He made an early contribution to the debate.   However, I fundamentally disagree with him that there has been a lack of quality research….
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Poor Show

Why it has taken so long for child poverty to become part of the conventional wisdom.   Listener: 16th January, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Social Policy;   Corso, the Council of Organisations for Relief Services Overseas, decided in 1979 that it was wrong to ignore poverty in New…
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Economic Inequality in New Zealand: a User’s Guide: Key Points

Extracted from the full report published in The New Zealand Journal of Sociology, Vol 28, Issue 3, 2013, pages 9-66. (http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/2013/12/economic-inequality-in-new-zealand-a-users-guide-summary/)   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics;   Key Messages   Section 1: Why is Economic Inequality Important?   1. The section identifies four main issues as to why inequality may be important – equity –…
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Economic Inequality in New Zealand: a User’s Guide

Published in The New Zealand Journal of Sociology , Vol 28, Issue 3, 2013, pages 9-66.  http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE18625730&dps_custom_att_1=ilsdb Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics; “When inequality is the common law of a society, the greatest inequalities do not call attention to themselves.” Democracy in America, A. de Tocqueville.   B. Perry (2103) Household Incomes in New Zealand: Trends…
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Top Market Incomes 1981-2011

Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics;     Introduction [1]   One of the few useful sources of market income information is incomes declared for tax purposes. Even so it has limitations.   It is administrative data and so is sensitive to changes in statute and administrative policy. Thus the definition of income is that set by…
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Inequality Claims

I reviewed “Inequality: a New Zealand Crisis”, Max Rashbrooke (ed) in “The New Zealand Listener” of 10 October, 2013. (http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/2012/11/is-new-zealand-still-fair/). It elicited the following letter and my reply.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics;   We welcome Brian Easton’s review of Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis (“Books & Culture, October 19) and his acknowledgement that it…
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Labouring over Inequality

The big issue concerning Labour’s grass roots is a bit of a surprise.   Listener: 17 October, 2013   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Political Economy & History;   The popular party vote that elected David Cunliffe leader of the Labour Party reveals much about what the party grass roots think. They gave a lower significance to…
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“Inequality: a New Zealand Crisis’, Max Rashbrooke (ed)

Max Rashbrooke and his contributors have begun a valuable discussion about wealth distribution in New Zealand – but it is no more than a starting point, and one with huge gaps.   Listener:10 October, 2013   Keywords: Distributional Economics;  Social Policy;   In recent years, debates about income inequality in rich countries have become prominent…
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Calculating Sen’s Real National Income for New Zealand

Keywords: Distributional Economics; Growth & Innovation; Statistics;   I have just realised that we can calculate Amartya Sen’s ‘real income’ measure  for New Zealand for a 30 year period, by combining our Statistics New Zealand estimates of national income with the Ministry of Social Development estimates of household gini coefficients. This note describes how this…
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The Business of Inequality

Nelson Spirited Conversations; 24 July, 2013. (Revised)   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Political Economy & History;   On a recent television program New Zealander Robert Wade, Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics, suggested that New Zealand might be ruled by 1 percent of the population, say 35,000 adults. The Deputy Prime Minister,…
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