Professor Norman Gemmell

Prof Norman Gemmell profile picture

Chair in Public Finance School of Accounting and Commercial Law

Research interests

Public finance: taxation, public expenditure, public debt, social welfare, fiscal policy, public sector analysis and performance, economic growth, public economics, political economy.


Norman joined the School of Accounting and Commercial Law in November 2011, as the first incumbent of the new Chair in Public Finance. Established by Victoria University of Wellington, with sponsorship from the three New Zealand government departments (Inland Revenue, Ministry for Social Development and Treasury) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the new Chair aims to bring together academic research on public finance with applications to tax policy in practice. Norman comes to the role having previously been Chief Economist and Principal Adviser (Tax) at The New Zealand Treasury (2007-11), an Assistant Director of the UK Inland Revenue’s Research Department (2003-06), and Professorial Research Fellow (1999-2007) and Professor of Development Economics (1996-99) at the University of Nottingham, UK. Norman also helped set up, and participated in, the recent VUW Tax Working Group which advised the Minister of Finance on the major tax reforms included in his 2010 Budget.

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, International Tax and Public Finance, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Public Economic Theory, National Tax Journal, and Journal of Development Economics.

In 2012, Norman was awarded the “Economist of the Year” by an independent panel of economists sponsored by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research (NZIER), and was appointed to the New Zealand Treasury’s External Panel of independent experts advising Treasury on its 2013 Long-Term Fiscal Statement.

In addition, the Chair also organised events to promote public debate on topical issues in the field of public finance including:

Inaugurating a series of Public Finance Debates (jointly with the N.Z. Government Economics Network) - a set of four debates during August – November 2012 on issues such as ‘should there be a government spending cap’ and ‘the sale of state assets’.

The Long-Term Fiscal “Affording Our Future” Conference at VUW in December 2012 (jointly with N.Z. Treasury).

Selected and recent publications

Refereed journal articles

2013 Fiscal decentralization and economic growth: spending versus revenue decentralization’, Economic Inquiry. Published on-line, January 2013. DOI 10.1111/j.1465-7295.2012.00508.x. (With R. Kneller and I. Sanz).

2013 ‘Growth and welfare maximization in models of public finance and endogenous growth’, Journal of Public Economic Theory, forthcoming. (With F. Misch and R. Kneller).

2012 ‘Behavioural responses to taxpayer audits: Evidence from random enquiries of UK self-assessed taxpayers’, National Tax Journal, 65, 33-58, March 2012. (With M. Ratto).

2011 ‘Timing and persistence of fiscal policy impacts on economic growth: Evidence from OECD countries, Economic Journal, 121, F33–F58. (With R. Kneller and I. Sanz).

2011 ‘Corporate tax asymmetries: effective tax rates and profit shifting’, International Tax & Public Finance, 18, 422-435. (With J. Creedy)

2010 ‘Population ageing and taxation in New Zealand’, New Zealand Economic Papers, 44, 137-158. (With J. Creedy, J. Enright and A. Mellish).

2010 ‘Binding constraints and second-best strategies in endogenous growth models with public finance’ Journal of Globalization and Development, 1, 2, 1-35. (With F. Misch and R. Kneller). Available.

2010 ‘Modelling responses to profit taxation. The case of UK corporation tax’, FinanzArchiv, 66, 3, 2010, 207-235. (With J. Creedy)

2009 ‘Corporation tax revenue growth in the UK: A microsimulation analysis’, Economic Modelling, 26, 614-625. (With J. Creedy).

2008 ‘Foreign investment, international trade and the size and structure of public expenditures’, European Journal of Political Economy, 24, 151-171. (With R. Kneller and I. Sanz).

2005 ‘Income tax revenue elasticities with endogenous labour supply’, Economic Modelling, 22, 21-38. (With J. Creedy).

2004 ‘Tax perceptions and preferences over tax structure in the UK’, Economic Journal, 114, 493, F117-F138. (With O. Morrissey and A. Pinar)

2003 ‘Tax perceptions and the demand for public expenditure: evidence from UK micro data’, European Journal of Political Economy, 19, 793-816. (With O. Morrissey and A. Pinar).

2001 ‘Testing the endogenous growth model: public expenditure, taxation and growth over the long-run’, Canadian Journal of Economics, 34, 36-57. (With M. Bleaney and R. Kneller).

1999 ‘Factor endowments, non-tradables prices and measures of openness’, Journal of Development Economics, 58, 101-122. (With R. Falvey)

1999 ‘Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries’, Journal of Public Economics, 74, 171-190. (With M. Bleaney and R. Kneller).

1996 ‘Estimating the impact of human capital stocks and accumulation on economic growth: some new evidence’, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 58, 9-28.

1996 ‘A formalisation and test of the factor productivity explanation of international differences in service prices’, International Economic Review, 37, 85-102. (With R. Falvey)

1991 ‘Explaining service price differences in international comparisons’, American Economic Review, 81, 1295-1309. (With R. Falvey)

1991 ‘Industrialisation, catching-up and economic growth: a comparative study across the world's capitalist economies’, Economic Journal, 101, 263-275. (With S. Dowrick)

1987 ‘A model of unbalanced growth: The market versus the non-market sector of an economy’, Oxford Economic Papers, 39, 1987, 253-267.


2010 Modelling Corporation Tax Revenues. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, October 2010. pp. xiii + 267. (With J. Creedy)

2010 Tax Reform in Open Economies. International and Country Perspectives. (Co-editor and contributor). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2010. (With I. Claus, M. Harding and D. White)

2006 Modelling Tax Revenue Growth, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, February 2006, pp. xiii + 225. (With J. Creedy)

2000 Trade and Fiscal Adjustment in Africa. (Co-editor and contributor). London: Macmillan, March 2000. pp. xii + 285. (With D. Bevan, P. Collier and D. Greenaway)

1997 Taxing and Spending Dilemmas. London: Social Market Foundation. pp. 71

1993 Public Sector Growth: Theories and International Evidence. (Editor and Contributor). Aldershot: Edward Elgar, April 1993. pp. xii + 261

1987 Surveys in Development Economics. (Editor and contributor). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. pp. xvii + 376. (Paperback edition, 1989; translated into Indonesian, 1992)

1986 Structural Change and Economic Development. The Role of the Service Sector. London: Macmillan. pp. xii + 216