Find out about the current Chair in Public Finance research team.
Norman Gemmell: Professor of Public Finance
Norman Gemmell has held the Chair in Public Finance at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington since November 2011, having previously been chief economist and principal adviser (tax) at The New Zealand Treasury (2007–11), and an assistant director of the UK Inland Revenue’s Analysis & Research Department (2003–06). Norman also helped set up the 2009–10 Tax Working Group which advised the New Zealand Minister of Finance on his 2010 Budget tax reforms. In 2012, Norman was named 'Economist of the Year' by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).
Norman has previously held academic positions at the Universities of Durham and Nottingham (UK), the Australian National University (Canberra), and has also held visiting positions at the Universities of Exeter (2015–17), Oxford (2007), Melbourne (1998–2006), Warwick (1995) and West Florida (1999), the New Zealand Treasury (2003) and the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, Germany (2011).
His research interests cover a range of topics across economics and political economy but mainly in the areas of public finance (taxation, public expenditure, and public debt) and economic growth. He has authored several books and numerous articles in such peer-reviewed journals as the American Economic Review; Economic Journal; European Journal of Political Economy; International Tax and Public Finance, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Public Economic Theory, National Tax Journal, and Journal of Development Economics. He also writes on public finance policy topics in policy journals, magazines and newspapers such as the New Zealand Herald and Newsroom.co.nz.
Selected recent journal articles
- 'Illustrating income mobility and poverty persistence’. Australian Economic Review. Forthcoming, 2021 (with J. Creedy).
- ‘Designing personal income tax reforms: alternative modelling approaches’. Australian Economic Review, 54, 4, 2021, 445-461 (with N. Alinaghi and J. Creedy).
- 'Elasticities of taxable income and adjustment costs: bunching evidence from New Zealand’. Oxford Economic Papers, 73, 3, 2021, 1244-1269 (with N. Alinaghi and J. Creedy).
- 'Are survey-based self-employment income under-reporting estimates biased? New evidence from matched register and survey data’. International Tax and Public Finance, 28, 2, 2021, 284-322 (with A.C.G. Cabral and N. Alinaghi).
- 'The redistribution effects of a minimum wage increase in New Zealand: a microsimulation analysis’. Australian Economic Review, 53, 4, 2020, 517-538 (with J. Creedy and N. Alinaghi).
- ‘Is external research assessment associated with convergence or divergence of research quality across universities and disciplines?’. Applied Economics, 52, 36, 2020, 3919-3932 (with R.A. Buckle and J. Creedy).
- ‘Illustrating income mobility: new measures’. Oxford Economic Papers, 71, 3, 2019, 733- 755 (with J. Creedy).
- 'The effects of penalty information on tax compliance: evidence from a New Zealand field experiment’. National Tax Journal, 71, 3, 2018, 547-588 (with M. Ratto).
- 'Income dynamics, pro-poor mobility and poverty persistence curves'. Economic Record, 94, 306, 2018, 316-328 (with J. Creedy).
- ‘Do local property taxes affect new building development? Results from a quasi-natural experiment in New Zealand’. Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, 58, 2, 2019, 310-333 (with A Grimes and M Skidmore).
- ‘Corporate taxation and productivity catch-up: evidence from European firms’, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 120, 2, 2018, 372-399 (with R. Kneller, D. McGowan, I. Sanz and J. Sanz-Sanz).
- ‘Effective tax rates and the user cost of capital when interest rates are low’. Economics Letters, 156, 2017, 82-87 (with J. Creedy).
- The distribution of income and fiscal incidence by age and gender: some evidence from New Zealand. Review of Income and Wealth, 62, 3, 2016, 534-558 (with O. Aziz and A. Laws).
- ‘Does the composition of government expenditure matter for long-run GDP levels?’ Oxford Bulletin of Economics & Statistics, 78, 4, 2016, 522-547 (with R. Kneller and I. Sanz).
- ‘The growth effects of tax rates in the OECD’, Canadian Journal of Economics, 47, 4, 2015, 1-39 (with R. Kneller and I. Sanz).
John Creedy: Professor of Public Economics and Taxation
Professor Creedy’s main research interests are public economics, labour economics, income distribution and the history of economic analysis. Between 2011 and 2017 he was half time at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington and half time in the tax strategy section of the New Zealand Treasury. Before coming to Wellington, he was the Truby Williams Professor of Economics in the University of Melbourne.
In 2016, John was named 'Economist of the Year' by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).
Recent journal articles
- Types of microfinance organisation: a taxonomy. Third Sector Review, 24(2), 105-136 (with J. & Hoang, H.) (2018).
- Income effects and the elasticity of taxable income. New Zealand Economic Papers, 52, 2, 185-203 (with N. Gemmell and J. Teng) (2018).
- The Optimal Threshold for GST on Imported Goods. Australian Economic Review, 50(2), 169-80 (2017).
- Alternative distributions for inequality comparisons. Australian Economic Review, (forthcoming).
- Taxation and the user cost of capital. Journal of Economic Surveys, 31, no. 1, pp. 201-225 (with N. Gemmell) (2017).
- Labour Supply in New Zealand and the 2010 Tax and Transfer Changes. New Zealand Economic Papers, 51, no. 1, pp. 60-78 (with P. Mok) (2017).
- A note on inequality-preserving distributional changes. New Zealand Economic Papers, 51, no. 1, pp. 86-95 (2017).
- Effective tax rates and the user cost of capital when interest rates are low. Economic Letters, 156, pp. 82-87 (with N. Gemmell) (2017).
- Measuring revenue-maximizing elasticities of taxable income: evidence for the US income tax. Public Finance Review, 45, no. 2, pp. 174-204 (with N. Gemmell) (2017).
- Inequality in New Zealand 1983/84 to 2013/14. New Zealand Economic Papers, 50, no. 3, pp. 323-342 (with C. Ball) (2016).
- Interpreting inequality measures and changes in inequality. New Zealand Economic Papers, 50, no. 2, pp. 177-192 (2016).
- Debt projections and fiscal sustainability with feedback effects. New Zealand Economic Papers, (with G. Scobie) (2016).
Nazila Alinaghi: Research Fellow in Public Finance
Dr Nazila Alinaghi joined the Chair in Public Finance in October 2017 after completing her PhD on the topic of taxes and economic growth at University of Canterbury, where she was awarded a UC PhD Scholarship and several other prizes for her papers. Since joining the CPF, Nazila has been working on several topics, including tax and transfer microsimulation modelling (minimum wage policy), estimating taxable income elasticities, and tax compliance. During 2019, she has produced three working papers. One of these (produced with Professors Creedy and Gemmell) was awarded the New Zealand Economic Policy Prize at the New Zealand Association of Economists Annual Conference. She also completed a project for which she received a research grant from the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Washington DC, USA), with the project outcome published in a peer-reviewed journal. Nazila contributed to the successful application to the 2019 MBIE Endeavour Fund, helping the CPF team secure over $1 million to undertake a three-year research project on measuring income inequality, poverty, and mobility in New Zealand.
Recent journal articles
- Alinaghi, N. Mobile money, risk sharing, and transaction costs: A replication study of evidence from Kenya’s mobile money revolution. Journal of Development Effectiveness, 11, 4, 342-359. (2019).
- Alinaghi, N., and Reed, W.R. Meta-analysis and publication bias: How well does the FAT-PET-PEESE procedure work?. Research Synthesis Methods, 9(2), 285-311. (2018).
Recent working papers
- Designing Direct Tax Reforms: Alternative Approaches
- Estimating Elasticities of Taxable Income and Adjustment Costs from Tax Kink Bunching: Evidence from Register Data for New Zealand
- Are Survey-Based Self-Employment Income Under-Reporting Estimates Biased? New Evidence from Matched Register and Survey Data
Anna Burnett-Howard: administrator
Anna Burnett-Howard is the administrator for the Chair in Public Finance. She organises the work programme of the CPF including conferences, working papers, the CPF website, and administrative support to the Advisory Board.
Amy Cruickshank: PhD student
Research project: Government policy toward charitable giving in New Zealand.
Abstract: Amy’s thesis, supervised by Norman Gemmell and Peer Skov (AUT), is exploring charitable giving behaviour in New Zealand and how this behaviour is influenced by government policy, in particular, the effectiveness of tax incentives for individual donations, payroll giving schemes, and direct government grants to registered charities. The research will be informative for policymakers when considering policy settings in relation to charitable giving and government grant schemes, as well as the philanthropic sector when devising fundraising strategies. The analysis will be based on unit record data of donation tax credit claims and workplace giving from Inland Revenue and data on charity grant applications and finances from the Department of Internal Affairs.
Status: Full PhD registration.
Chris Ball: PhD student
Research project: Labour supply responses to policy reform using behavioural microsimulation modelling.
Abstract: Chris’s PhD research, supervised by John Creedy and Norman Gemmell, is examining labour supply responses to tax-and-transfer changes using microsimulation modelling. The research consists of four key contributions: 1) developing high-quality synthetic data for use in microsimulation modelling; 2) investigating parameter restrictions to ensure preference parameter estimates are consistent with economic theory; 3) extending the Random Utility Random Opportunity (RURO) discrete choice set to include transfer receipt; and 4) designing new methods to evaluate behavioural microsimulation modelling results.
Status: Full PhD registration.