Phillip Riley

Early childhood education and family dynamics

Phillip Riley PhD student at School of Government


Supervisors: Professor Arthur Grimes and Dr Kate Prickett


Phillip has more than 10 years’ experience in analysing, constructing and disseminating statistical models, across the New Zealand government. He has worked on projects investigating drivers of wellbeing, regulatory burden, investment in social welfare programs, cost of government administration, and association between COVID-19 lockdown and mental health. In order for stakeholders to get the most, Phillip brings a modern approach when translating complex analysis to comprehensible information.


  • Bachelors in Economics (Hons B.B.S.) Texas Tech University
  • Masters in Economics (Hons M.B.S.) Massey University

Research interests

Phillip’s research is driven by the need of better evidence for decision makers, when measuring the impact of targeted government spending. Through the Roy McKenzie Family Centre, Phillip’s research focuses on Early Childcare outcomes. This research is broken down into five questions:

  • What are the characteristics of Early Childcare experienced by a diverse, representative, and contemporary sample of New Zealand children?
  • Are these settings associated with children’s development?
  • Does  Early Childcare impact other family and whānau outcomes, such as parenting behaviours and stress, in ways that might explain any positive association between Early Childcare and child development?
  • Does the presence or strength of these associations differ by demographic or socioeconomic status?
  • Do these potential short-term impacts of Early Childcare persist in the longer term?

The research will focus on the both children and parents, over an eight year period.