Working paper

Adult Equivalence Scales, Inequality and Poverty in New Zealand (WP 04/21)

Formats and related files

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Disclaimer
  • 1  Introduction
  • 2  Alternative Concepts and Measures
  • 3  Empirical Analysis for New Zealand
  • 4  Equivalence Scales and Direct Taxation
  • 5  Alternative Equivalence Scales
  • 6  Conclusions
  • Appendix: Covariance Between Adult Equivalent Income and Number of Persons
  • References

John Creedy and Catherine Sleeman


This paper examines the sensitivity of inequality and poverty measures to the choice of adult equivalence scales and the type of income unit examined. Comparisons are made using parametric equivalence scales, and income units include individuals, equivalent adults and households. The results are based on HES data for total expenditure. A variety of equivalence scales, for New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the OECD are examined. The implications of varying the poverty line are also considered.


The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Working Paper are strictly those of the author(s). They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury. The New Zealand Treasury takes no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in this Working Paper. The paper is presented not as policy, but to inform and stimulate wider debate.