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Could New Zealand's Domestic Purposes Benefit in  Conjunction with the Tax Systems Impact Low-Income Women's Decision Regarding Family Formation and Childbearing?

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posted on 08.11.2021, 23:26 by Yosyingyong, Sorraya

This thesis provides a descriptive analysis of whether New Zealand's Domestic Purposes Benefits (DPB) and some Family Assistance programmes, mainly Family Support, creates incentives for low-income women to become single mothers. This concern arises from two sources: firstly, eligibility criteria for many of these programmes require recipients to be single parents and secondly, assessment units for the welfare and income tax systems are different, resulting in relatively high Effective Marginal Tax Rate (EMTR) for low-income earners when they form a union with their partners. The Household Labour Force Participation Survey (HLFS) was used in the study over the period 1986 to 2004, during which significant welfare policy changes were introduced. If welfare policies do affect incentives for child-bearing and partnering among actual or potential welfare recipients, we would expect these policy changes to have had an impact on these outcomes. Our results indicate that low educated women demonstrated a continuous decline in partnering up rates, whereas high educated women revealed an increase in the partnering up rates over this period. Nevertheless, there were no fluctuations in partnering up rates among low-educated women, in response to these policy changes. Also, the pattern in the childbearing behaviour is similar among low and high educated women. Hence, without a comprehensive regression analysis, this study suggests that the New Zealand DPB and FS, in conjunction with the income tax system, might not have had an impact on actual or potential beneficiaries' decisions to form a union with their partner and to have a dependent child.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Commerce and Administration

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Economics and Finance


Velamuri, Malathi; Stillman, Steven