Category Archives: Distributional Economics

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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A Framework for an Economic Strategy

A note prepared for discussion in September 2012.   Keywords: Business & Finance;  Distributional Economics; Globalisation & Trade; Growth & Innovation; Macroeconomics & Money;   What is the Purpose of the Economy? * The purpose of the New Zealand economy is to maintain and increase the wellbeing of all  New Zealanders. It is neither the…
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Fairness and Community

Presentation to ‘Spirited Conversations’, Nelson, July 25, 2012. At a public meeting of the Tax Working Group, whose recommendations were the basis of the 2010 tax changes when GST was raised to the benefit of those on higher incomes, a member of the public raised the question of the role of fairness in their thinking….
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The Too Hard Basket

THE TOO HARD BASKET Listener: 19 January, 2012. Keywords: Environment & Resources; Distributional Economics;  Macroeconomics & Money; Political Economy & History;  Regulation & Taxation;  Social Policy; Every government has issues it hopes will go away. They don’t. Here are some for our one. Our Emissions Trading Scheme is looking like a dog’s breakfast, and/or something…
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Tax and Equity

PSA Journal, March 2010. Keywords: Distributional Economics; Regulation & Taxation; In my Commercialisation of New Zealand there is a chapter on ‘the abandoning of equity’, of how under Rogernomics social fairness went steadily down in the policy priorities. The report on tax reform by the Victoria University of Wellington Tax Working Group (TWG) confirms the…
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Te Ara: Income and Wealth Distributions

From the section ‘The Economy and the City’ released February 2010. Keywords: Distributional Economics Te Ara is New Zealand’s On-line Encyclopaedia. The primary author of its section on the Income and Wealth Distributions ( www.teara.govt.nz/en/income-and-wealth-distribution ) was Brian Easton. For other of his contributions The Economy: www.teara.govt.nz/en/economy New Zealand’s economic history: www.teara.govt.nz/en/economic-history

Cap in Hand

Making the emissions trading scheme “affordable” may  hit future generations hard.   Listener: 10 October, 2009.   Keywords: Environment & Resources;   Distributional Economics;   Global warming is a consequence of a market failure: polluters emit chemicals without having to pay the price of their emissions. Some sort of taxation regime would no doubt make the…
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Less Equal Than Others

Societies with great inequality are more prone to poor health, social hostility and crime. Listener: 29 August, 2009. Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; When I was working on the problems of inequality and poverty in the 1970s, my colleagues joked I was a social economist, even if they spent more time…
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Equity and the Tax System

Tax, Saving Welfare and Retirement: Have We Lost our Way? Symposium, Retirement Policy and Research Centre, University of Auckland, 16 July, 2009   Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Maynard Keynes   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology &…
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Growth V Distribution

What the electoral economic debate is really about.   Listener: 9 August 2008.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Growth & Innovation;   Although the rhetoric of economic debate is about accelerating economic growth, the reality of politics is mainly about redistributing income.   Merrill Lynch told the Australian insurance industry it would make a $200 million…
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Household Equivalents for Engel Curve to Estimation

Note prepared 6 April, 2008.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Statistics;   The conventional Engel Curve relates expenditure on (usually) food (F) to aggregate household (usually) expenditure (X). Since it is a one-to-one relation it my be mathematically inverted to               (1)        X = f(F, z) where z is a vector of other variables which…
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Is Inequality Really Increasing from Globalisation?

The Weekend Herald of November 10, 2007 devoted three pages, to a Newsweek article which was strong on anecdote and opinion and weak on analysis and facts. I submitted the following note. They took a fortnight to tell me they had more important things to deal with.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Globalisation & Trade;  …
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Mortgage Stress: How Much Has It Risen?

This note was commissioned by the Sunday Star Times (5 August, 2007)   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Macroeconomics & Money; Social Policy;  In the year to June 2004, 3.7% of all households suffered ‘mortgage stress’ defined as having at least 40% of their disposable income being used to service their mortgage. This definition of mortgage stress…
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Census Income Statistics

Keywords: Distributional Economics; Maori; Statistics;  The following summarises the income statistics used in the Listener economics columns of the March 11 & 25, and April 7.  The data is derived directly from the official Population Census for the relevant years. As the column details, it is reported income including social security benefits, before tax and…
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Notes Towards the Distributional Consequences Of Policy Changes

This is a simplified version of a paper to the Joint Conference between the Social Welfare Research Centre of the University of New South Wales and the New Zealand Planning Council, 10-11 November 1988, published in the Proceedings edited by Peter Saunders and Adam Jamrozik, as SWRC Report No 78, September 1989. This version was…
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What Does the 2004 Living Standards Report Tell Us?

This was submitted to http://norightturn.blogspot.com/, posted 3 August, 2006.  Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy; Statistics;  The New Zealand Living Standards 2004 report depends entirely upon its “Economic Living Standards Index” (ELSI), first used in the previous (2000) report. At that time I expressed reservations about the index. Many have not been addressed. What I do…
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