Institute for Governance and Policy Studies

Contact Details

Phone: +64 4 463 9491
Fax: +64 4 463 7413
Email: bob.stephens@vuw.ac.nz

Title

Senior Associate

Profile

BComm(Hons) (Melbourne); MSc Economics (LSE).

Bob Stephens retired as Associate Professor in Public Policy at Victoria University in January 2010. His research has been largely in the areas of social and public policy and tax reform. As a foundation Member of New Zealand Poverty Measurement Project, Bob develop a poverty measure suitable for the current economic and social policy environment in New Zealand. Bob has been involved in several international comparative studies, including the level of financial assistance for dependent children, child support, lone parents, social assistance and transparency of the budget process.

Research Interests

  • Economics of the welfare state;
  • Superannuation and social security;
  • Poverty measurement;
  • Personal Income Tax and GST;
  • Tax reform and income distribution;
  • Improved measures of well-being;
  • Comparative Social Assistance.

Selected conference papers and publications

  • Stephens, R. (with J. Davey and G. Rashbrooke eds.) Retirement Income and Intergenerational Equity (2010), Wellington, IPS
  • Stephens, R. 'The Difference that Differences Make',  in J. Davey, G. Rashbrooke and R. Stephens eds. Retirement Income and Intergenerational Equity (2010), Wellington, IPS.
  • Stephens, R. 'Poverty in Families with Dependent Children', Children, (2011), Office of the Children's Commissioner.
  • Stephens, R. (with N. Lunt and M. O’Brien) New Welfare, New Zealand, 2007, Melbourne, Thomson.
  • Stephens, R. (with E. Gomez) The State, Economic Development and Ethnic Co-Existence in Malaysia and New Zealand, 2003, Kuala Lumpur, CEDER.
  • Stephens, R. ‘The Economic and Equity Effects of GST in New Zealand’, 2007, in R. Krever and D. White (eds.) GST in Retrospect and Prospect, Melbourne, Thomson/Brookers.
  • Stephens, R. (with N. Lunt and M. O’Brien) ‘Introduction’, in R. Stephens, N. Lunt and M. O’Brien (eds.) New Welfare, New Zealand, 2007, Melbourne, Thomson.
  • Stephens, R. ‘The Changing Social Security System’ in R. Stephens, N. Lunt and M. O’Brien (eds.) New Welfare, New Zealand, 2007, Melbourne, Thomson.
  • Stephens, R. (with P. Callister) ‘Work-life Balance’ in R. Stephens, N. Lunt and M. O’Brien (eds.) New Welfare, New Zealand, 2007, Melbourne, Thomson.
  • Stephens, R. (with N. Lunt and M. O’Brien) ‘What Lies Ahead’ in R. Stephens, N. Lunt and M. O’Brien (eds.) New Welfare, New Zealand, 2007, Melbourne, Thomson.

Articles

  • Stephens, R., 'Poverty Measurement and Policy', Policy Quarterly, 2005, 1(1), pp.8-13.
  • Stephens, R., (with K. Baehler et al.) 'Surveying Research on New Zealand Government', Australian Journal of Public Administration, 2005, 64(1), pp. 43-61.
  • Stephens, R., 'Horizontal Equity for Disabled People: Incapacity from Accident or Illness', Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 2004, 35(4), pp. 783-800.
  • Stephens, R., (with C. Waldegrave and P. King) 'Gauging New Zealand's Success at Poverty Reduction in the New Millennium', Australian Journal of Social Issues, 38(4) November,2003, pp. 433-463.
  • Stephens, R., 'The Economic and Social Context for the Changes in Accident Compensation', Victoria University of Wellington Law Review, 34(2), June,2003, pp. 351 - 366.
  • Stephens, R., 'The Level of Financial Assistance to Families with Dependent Children: A Comparative Analysis', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 20, June, 2003, pp. 173-196.
  • Stephens, R., (with C. Waldegrave) 'Assessing the Progress on Poverty Reduction', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 20, June, 2003, pp. 197-222.
  • Stephens, R., (with E. Davies and B. Woods), 'From Rhetoric to Action', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, Issue 19, December, 2002.
  • Stephens, R., 'Poverty, Ethnicity and Income Distribution in New Zealand' in T. Gomez and R. Stephens (eds), Economic Development and Ethnicity: a Tale of Two Countries, Malay and New Zealand, 2002.
  • Stephens, R,. 'Re-orienting Support for Children in New Zealand', Issues in Social Security, Vol. 8, 2003, PP. 119-140.
  • Stephens, R., (with C. Waldegrave), 'The Effectiveness of the Tax and Transfer System in Reducing Poverty in 1998', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 16 (2001), pp. 77-107.
  • Stephens, Robert, 'The Social Impact of Reform: Poverty in Aotearoa/New Zealand', Social Policy and Administration, 34, 1 (2000), pp. 64-86.
  • Stephens,R., 'Income Distribution in New Zealand', Victoria Economic Commentaries, 15,1(1998), pp.14-20.
  • Stephens, R., Waldegrave, C. and Frater, P., 'An Overview of Research on Poverty in New Zealand', New Zealand Sociology, 12, 2 (1997), pp. 213-259.
  • Stephens, R., Waldegrave, C. and Stuart, S., 'Participation in Poverty Research: Drawing on the Knowledge of Low Income Householders to Establish an Appropriate Measure for Monitoring Social Policy Impacts', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 7 (December 1996), pp.191-206.
  • Stephens, R., 'Superannuation: Funded or Pay-as-you-go?', Victoria Economic Commentaries, 14, 2 (1997), pp. 10-16.
  • Stephens, R., Boston,J. and St.John,S., 'The Quest for Social Responsibility', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 7(December 1996), pp. 2-16.
  • Stephens, R., Waldegrave, C. and Frater, P., 'Measuring Poverty in New Zealand', Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 5(1995), pp.55-80.

Chapters

  • Stephens, B., ‘Poverty, Family Finances and Social Security’, in J. Boston, P. Dalziel and S. St John (Eds), Redesigning the Welfare State in New Zealand: Problems, Policies and Prospects. Japanese Edition, translated by Hideaki Shibata and Shioto Fukuchi. Kyoto: Horitsu Bunka-Sha, 2004.
  • Stephens, R., 'GST in New Zealand: Economic Saviour of Social Injustice', n R. Smith (ed), On the Way to the GST: How Analysis Shaped Options for Decision, (Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 2000), pp. 42-58.
  • Stephens, R., 'Economics and Social Policy', in D. Milne and J Savage (eds), Reporting Economics: A New Zealand Guide to the Economy, (Wellington, New Zealand, Journalists Training Organisation, 1999), pp. 189-204.
  • Stephens, R.,'Poverty, Family Finances and Social Security', in P. Dalziel, S. St. John and J. Boston (eds), The Redesign of the Welfare State in New Zealand, (Auckland, Oxford University Press,1999), pp. 238-259.
  • Stephens, R., 'Financing Tertiary Education', in M. Olssen and K. Morris Matthews(eds), Education Policy in New Zealand: the 1990s and Beyond, (Palmerston North, Dunmore Press, 1997), pp.190-208.
  • Stephens, R., 'Measuring Poverty in New Zealand', in P. Crampton and P. Howden-Chapman (eds), Socioeconomic Inequalities and Health (Wellington, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, 1997), pp.105-120.
  • Stephens, R., 'The Interaction and Coordination of Tax and Benefit Programme', in R. Krever(ed), Tax Conversations: A Guide to the Key Issues in the Tax Reform Debate: Essays in Honour of John G. Head (London, Kluwer Law International, 1997), pp.471-512.
  • Stephens, R., 'Economic Inequality, Poverty and Social Policy Outcomes', in G. Griffin (ed), Industrial Relations in New Zealand: Five Years of Deregulation (Monash University, National Key Centre in Industrial Relations, 1996), pp.29-44.
  • Stephens, R., 'Social Services', in B. Silverstone, R. Lattimore and A. Bollard (eds), A Study of Economic Reform: The Case of New Zealand (Amsterdam, North-Holland, 1996), Chapter 14.
  • Stephens, R., 'Measuring Poverty in New Zealand, 1984 - 1993', in P. Saunders and M. McHugh( eds), Social Policy and the Challenges of Social Change (Sydney, Social Policy Research Centre, 1995), pp.229-242.

Conference Presentations

  • Stephens, R., ‘The Economic and Equity Effects of GST in New Zealand’,  GST: The Way Forward Conference, Wellington, November 2006.
  • Stephens, R., ‘Policies to Alleviate Poverty’, Combat Poverty Agency, Dublin, May 2005.
  • Stephens, R. 'Income Adequacy and Poverty Alleviation in New Zealand', Social Policy Association Conference, Bath, UK, June 2005.
  • Stephens, R., ‘Measuring Poverty in New Zealand’, Welfare State Seminar Series, London School of Economics, February 2005.
  • Stephens, R. 'Universal or Targeted: a Comparison of Poverty Programmes in Ireland and New Zealand', The Policy Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, May 2005.
  • Stephens, R., ‘Income Adequacy and Poverty Alleviation’, Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Seminar Series, May 2005.
  • Stephens, R., 'New Zealand's Financial Assistance to Families with Dependent Children: An International Comparative Perspective', Social Policy Research and Evaluation Conference (Wellington, April 2003).
  • Stephens, R., 'The Role of Poverty Measurement in Policy Development and Formulation', Public Policy Network Conference (Wellington, January 2003).
  • Stephens, R. and Waldegrave, C., 'Assessing the Progress on Poverty Reduction', Social Policy Research and Evaluation Conference (Wellington, April 2003).
  • Stephens, R. "Evidence-Based Policy: a New Zealand Based Perspective", paper presented to School of Government/Royal Society Conference on Evidence-Based Policy, Wellington, July 2002.
  • Stephens, R. "The Economic and Social Context for the Changes in Accident Compensation", paper presented at the ACC symposium 'Looking Back at ACC', Wellington, August 2002.
  • Stephens, R. "Comparing Lone Parent Policy in the US and New Zealand", paper presented at a seminar at NOVA, Oslo, Norway, June 2001.
  • Stephens, R. "Social Policy and Benefit Reform", paper presented to an International Institute for Research Conference, 2001, October, Wellington.
  • Stephens, Robert, 'Policies for Children over the Next Decade', Needs for the Family Workshop, (Wellington, November 2000).
  • Stephens, Robert, 'Poverty and Employment: A Comparison of Policy and Outcomes for Single Mothers Between the United States and New Zealand', Urban Fellows Conference, (Baltimore, USA, April 2000).
  • Stephens, Robert and Waldegrave, Charles, 'Poverty: The Litmus Test of Social and Economic Policy Failure', Second Biennial Aotearoa New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DEVNET) Conference, Poverty Prosperity and Progress(Victoria University of Wellington, November 2000).
  • Stephens, R., 'Evaluating the Todd Report on Tertiary Education', in J. Marshall (ed.) The Economics of Education (Auckland, University of Auckland, 1995), The Faculty of Education Annual Lectures, Lecture Series 1995, pp.50-72.

Major Reports

  • Stephens. R., and Duignan, P., Review of the Ministry of Social Policy's Strategic Social Policy Capability, (Wellington, State Services Commission 2001), Report for the Minister of Social Services and Employment and the Minister of State Services, 61pp.
  • Stephens, R., 'New Zealand', in T. Eardley, J. Bradshaw, J. Ditch, I. Gough and P. Whiteford (with D. Gray and D. Preston)(eds), Social Assistance in OECD Countries: Country Reports (London, Department of Social Security Research, HMSO, 1996), Report No. 47, pp. 289-316.

Published Conference Papers

  • Stephens, R., 'Establishing a Poverty Standard', The Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Working Paper ES6/05, June 2005.
  • Stephens, R., 'Poverty, Ethnicity and Income Distribution', Paper presented at a New Zealand/Malaysia Conference on Malaysia/New Zealand Relations, January 2002.
  • Waldegrave, C. and Stephens. R. "Poverty: The Litmus Test of Social and Economic Policy Failure" in Conference Proceedings, Second Biennial Aotearoa New Zealand International Development Studies Network (DEVNET) Conference 17-19 November, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, 2000.
  • Stephens, R., 'The Generosity of Social Assistance in New Zealand', in C. Briar and G. Gill(eds), Work, Families and the State: Problems and Possibilities for the 21st Century, Conference Proceedings (Palmerston North, Massey University, January 1998), pp.145-152.

Working and Occasional Papers

  • Stephens, Robert, Frater, P. and Waldegrave, C., Below the Line: An Analysis of Income Poverty in New Zealand: 1984-1998 (Graduate School of Business and Government Management, Victoria University of Wellington, 2000), Working Paper Series 2/00, 37pp.
  • Stephens, Robert, Poverty and Employment: A Comparison of Policy and Outcomes for Single Mothers Between the United States and New Zealand. Part I: Policies and Outcomes, (Baltimore, USA, Institute for Policy Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 2000, Research Paper 00/03, 82pp.