Chair in Public Finance

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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. View the article.

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.

2016 Public Finance Christmas Debate

New Zealand needs a sugar tax to protect us from the consequences of Christmas excesses.

Waistlines often expand around the Christmas season. This may reflect the appearance of candy canes, eggnog lattes, and other edible Christmas goodies. Could a sugar tax save us from these sugar-laden treats? The UK introduced a tax on sugary drinks in its 2016 Budget and other countries seems to be lining up. But will it deal with the alleged obesity problem among children and adults? What about other good or bad side-effects of a sugar tax? Is regulation a better way to go? Or should government simply leave our Christmas treats alone.

15th December 4:00 - 5:00 pm followed by refreshments.

For more information please view the invitation flyer pdf118KB


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