About our People

Prof Norman Gemmell at External Panel 4
Professor of Public Finance

Professor of Public Finance

Norman Gemmell was appointed as the first Chair in Public Finance (CPF) in 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, and participated in, the 2009-10 VUW Tax Working Group which advised the Minister of Finance on the major tax reforms included in his 2010 Budget.

Norman gained his BA (Honours, Economics) and PhD in economics from the University of Durham, UK and has held academic positions at the University of Durham, Australian National University and, most recently, at the University of Nottingham where he was Professorial Research Fellow (1999-2007), Professor of Development Economics (1996-99) and Reader in Economic Development (1990-96). Norman has also held visiting positions at the Universities of Oxford (2007), Melbourne (1998-2006), Warwick (1995) and West Florida (1999), the Australian National University (1995), the New Zealand Treasury (2003) and the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, Germany (2011).

Norman’s 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 journal articles in these areas including the recent Modelling Corporation Tax Revenue (with John Creedy; Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010) and 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.

Norman has also acted as a consultant to a number of international organisations including several UK and New Zealand government departments, United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), EU Commission, UN University (WIDER, Helsinki) and the World Bank. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the International Institute for Public Finance World Congress to be held in Beijing, 2013.

In 2012, Norman was named 'Economist of the Year' by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER).

View Norman's publications

View Norman's CV


Fiona Taylor 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.

Fiona joined Victoria University in April 2016, having previously worked for the Trilogy International Group. She has a background in Economics, and is a Commerce and Bachelor of Arts graduate from Victoria University.

Victoria Univeristy research associates

The Chair in Public Finance works in association with researchers in the Tax Research Interest Group and the Centre for Accounting, Governance, and Taxation Research CAGTR). These include

PhD students

The Chair in Public Finance supervises the following research students:

David Law, Phd Student
David Law
'The Performance of the New Zealand Economy: Productivity, Trade and Savings'

Both the level and growth rate of New Zealand’s income per capita have been relatively poor for nearly four decades. There are many hypotheses for this, the reality being that there is no single driver responsible for our growth performance. However, possibilities put forward often fall into three areas: various causes of low labour productivity; low levels of international trade; and low levels of domestic saving and capital accumulation. This thesis uses a variety of empirical techniques and data sources to explore aspects of each.

Carolyn Palmer, PhD Student
Carolyn Palmer
'Good Tax Policy - on Shaky Ground? An assessment of tax policy decisions in response to natural disasters'

Recent years have seen a series of natural disasters place significant social and fiscal strain on a number of economies: Determining the appropriate Government response to such natural disasters, both in the short, medium and longer term, involves multiple complex policy decisions that often need to be made under significant time pressure with limited information. One area where governments are called on to respond is tax policy. The focus for the study is tax policy changes made in response to four recent natural disasters: New Zealand – Christchurch earthquakes; Australia – Queensland floods; Japan – Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami; and United States – Hurricane Katrina.

Alastair Thomas
Alastair Thomas
'The distributional effects of consumption taxes in OECD countries'

This research will investigate the distributional effects of consumption taxes in OECD countries. The analysis will be based on consumption tax microsimulation models constructed using household expenditure microdata for around 20 OECD countries, including New Zealand. The first part of the research will investigate whether consumption taxes are regressive or progressive, by undertaking a detailed distributional analysis of consumption tax burdens across income and expenditure deciles. The models will then be used to examine the effectiveness of reduced and zero GST/VAT rates at achieving redistributional goals. A third part of the research will be to simulate the redistributive effects of various hypothetical reforms, including removing poorly targeted reduced and zero GST/VAT rates identified in the prior analysis.