School of Accounting and Commercial Law


The myth of the shrinking state? What does the data show about the size of the state in New Zealand?

Norman Gemmell and Derek Gill

The paper explores the urban myth that the economic reforms of the late 1980 and 1990s reduced the size of the state. It uses a variety of lenses – the state as taxer, spender, producer, employer, investor, and steward – to assess how the size and shape of the state has changed.  

It finds despite the rhetoric, there is little sign in the data of the hollowing out or shrinking of the state, though some changes following the 1980s reforms such as the reduction in the state role in the production of market goods and services have persisted. Instead, we find some changes in the shape of the state.  The article is available here.

Tax Reform in Developing Countries

A recent publication which combines three decades of research on tax reform in developing countries. Edited by James Alm and Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, the collection includes works from Michael Keen, Thomas Piketty, Joseph Stiglitz and our own Norman Gemmell.

Measuring Revenue-maximizing Elasticities of Taxable Income: Evidence for the US Income Tax

In a paper published in the Public Finance Review, Professor Norman Gemmell and Professor John Creedy, discuss the realtionship between marginal tax rates in the US income tax system and their respective Laffer curves. Read article now.

The New Zealand Dividend Psyche: Dividend policies and imputation

Tax has a major impact on corporate dividend policy. In-depth interviews with 25 New Zealand corporates and 12 investor groups underpin EY’s report Imputation and the New Zealand Dividend Psyche. Join us for this session covering the report’s major findings on corporate behaviours. The Chair in Public Finance and EY held a seminar on this subject on Monday 23 November.
More information

2015 Public Finance Christmas Debate

On 9 December 2015, the Chair in Public Finance and Government Economics Network hosted the (now) annual Public Finance Christmas debate.


These pages describe the activities and personal views of the Chair in Public Finance.  They should not be attributed to Victoria University of Wellington or the Sponsors of the Chair.

Click for MSD homepageClick for Treasury homepageClick for IRD homepageClick for PWC homepageNZPC Logo