Abstract from Dr Sholeh Maani 's Guest Lecture presented at the Treasury on 03 April 2007.
Dr Sholeh Maani
Associate Professor, University of Auckland
She is the author of the book: Investing in Minds: The Economics of Higher Education in New Zealand, Institute of Policy Studies (1997), and has an ongoing interest in the effects of higher education policy. Her fields of interest are economics of the labour market, public policy, applied econometrics, and economic development. Her researched and published work include human capital and wage determination, academic performance and early school leaving, participation in higher education, income distribution, relative Maori educational outcomes and income levels over time, migration and the economic performance of immigrants, housing and health, unemployment duration and job search outcomes, compensation for risk, and intergenerational welfare participation.
Dr Maani was the director of a major labour economics project in Chile, and a visiting scholar at Harvard University and NBER. As a specialist in economics of education and labour markets, she has served as a research advisor on labour market issues in New Zealand and overseas. She has been a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Social Science Advisory Committee, 2001-2003, and has served as the President of the Association of New Zealand Economists, 1995-1997.
This talk gives an overview of research on skill formation issues of relevance to the New Zealand youth labour market. School retention, skill formation, and participation in tertiary education have significant lifetime labour market and other economic impacts. Impacts of youth skill formation are not only in relation to personal lifetime earnings, but also on economic growth, and public expenditures on employment and income maintenance. Current research agendas in several OECD countries are investigating the role of economic factors and incentives that result in favourable skill formation and youth labour market outcomes.
The talk outlines findings of three of her recent papers with New Zealand data, and raises research questions of interest on the youth labour market in New Zealand. It further outlines the direction of current international research agendas in this area.