9 results for Alexander, W Robert J

  • Collaborative problem solving in student learning

    Alexander, W Robert J; McDougall, R Stuart (2001)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    It had been apparent to teaching staff of our department for some time that the tutorial system in place for large introductory-level classes was not functioning optimally. Tutorials were re-designed around problem solving and applications of theory, undertaken by students in small groups. Assessment was also re-designed in keeping with the changed course emphasis. In evaluating the success or otherwise of this change in the approach to the conduct of tutorials, we used both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The qualitative responses of both students and tutors were very positive. Quantitative evidence of improved outcomes is harder to adduce, but we did find sufficient evidence to encourage us to extend the changes to other large classes.

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  • Quantifying compliance costs of small businesses in New Zealand

    Alexander, W Robert J; Bell, John D; Knowles, Stephen (2004-07)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    This paper reports on a small-scale study of the compliance costs of small New Zealand businesses. Participating firms were asked to keep a record of both time spent and expenditure directly incurred over a thirteen-week period. This differs from previous studies that rely on a firm’s recall of how much time has been spent on compliance over the previous year. The results suggest that New Zealand small businesses, on average, spend less time, but a similar amount of money, on compliance than has been indicated in previous studies. A number of firms do perceive compliance to be a major issue, and in some cases this perception prevents firms from expanding.

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  • Explaining efficiency differences of New Zealand secondary schools

    Alexander, W Robert J; Jaforullah, Mohammad (2004-02)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    The New Zealand Secondary School system is characterized by centrally provided government funding for almost all schools, yet responsibility for use of that funding has been devolved right down to the school level. The central provision of funding has resulted in consistent collection of data across the system including, for one recent year (2001), a census of teachers. We use this data in a two-stage analysis of school efficiency. Data envelopment analysis is employed at the first stage to derive a score for each school representing the efficiency with which it transforms basic inputs into outputs. At the second stage of the analysis, to explain variations in efficiency, we regress the efficiency scores on a range of environmental and school type variables, some of which are controllable by schools and some of which are not. We find that school type, defined along a number of dimensions, matters. So too do the socio-economic status of the community from which the school draws its pupils, school size and teacher experience, although not teacher qualifications.

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  • A two-stage double-bootstrap data envelopment analysis of efficiency differences of New Zealand secondary schools

    Alexander, W Robert J; Jaforullah, Mohammad; Haug, Alfred A. (2007-11-01)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    We conduct a two-stage (DEA and regression) analysis of the efficiency of New Zealand secondary schools. Unlike previous applications of two-stage semi-parametric modelling of the school “production process”, we use Simar and Wilson’s double bootstrap procedure, which permits valid inference in the presence of unknown serial correlation in the efficiency scores. We are therefore able to draw robust conclusions about a system that has undergone extensive reforms with respect to ideas high on the educational agenda such as decentralised school management and parental choice. Most importantly, we find that school type affects school efficiency and so too does teacher quality.

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  • A critique of “Maori socio-economic disparity”

    Alexander, W Robert J; Williams, John R (2001)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    When economic research has potentially important implications for public policy it behoves researchers to take as much care as possible in their treatment of data and in their statistical analyses. No empirical econometric study can be without its limitations and often those limitations may be hidden in the detail of quite sophisticated econometric technique. By contrast, some work uses only relatively simple statistical analysis and, in that sense, appears to be more comprehensible and more persuasive to the non-specialist reader. Chapple (2000a) has contributed to the "Closing the Gaps" public policy debate with a paper that questions whether gaps exist, and whether, if they exist, they are growing. We see three major problems with this paper. First, the evidence presented is very poorly documented. Sources of information are not quoted (effectively hearsay is used) and data are not freely available. Second, the paper ignores several well-known caveats concerning the validity of inferences from statistical analyses. Third, even if one accepts the results as tabulated and plotted in the paper, it is quite possible to draw radically different substantive conclusions as to their implications than those drawn by the author.

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  • Maori disadvantage in the labour market

    Alexander, W Robert J; Murat, Genc; Jaforullah, Mohammad (2001)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    This paper is a preliminary report on research that is ongoing. Using unit record data from Statistics New Zealand's Income Survey for the June quarters of 1997 to 1999, we estimate wage regressions taking into account the sample selection bias problem which arises from the exclusion from such regressions of those individuals with no market income. Controlling for a set of productivity characteristics including age, household type, marital status, qualifications, occupational class and location, we find evidence of significant ethnic and gender wage differentials. In particular, we find that Maori, Pacific Island and other non-European ethnic groups do suffer labour market discrimination which is not explainable by observable characteristics. We intend to extend this study with Income Survey data from the 2000 year, incorporating useful feedback we have had since first presenting these results last year.

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  • Scale and pure efficiencies of New Zealand secondary schools

    Alexander, W Robert J; Jaforullah, Mohammad (2005-03)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    The scale efficiency of schools is a controversial matter. Government quite naturally wants to capture such scale efficiencies as are available, while parents and educators often favour smaller schools because of their perceived quality advantages that are not easily measurable. We use data envelopment analysis to calculate three different measures of the efficiency with which New Zealand secondary schools transform basic inputs into outputs. There is considerable variation across schools on all three measures: scale, pure and overall efficiencies. We more closely examine our sample broken down by ownership type, by single-sex/co-educational and by location. All of these factors influence the efficiency measures, with scale disadvantages evident in rural versus urban schools, Integrated schools generally outperforming State schools and single-sex schools outperforming co-educational ones, especially in pure efficiency terms. We then present evidence that higher socio-economic status of a school’s community confers both scale and pure efficiency advantages and use regression analysis to quantify the effects at work.

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  • Ethnic gaps and ethnic ratios

    Alexander, W Robert J (2001)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    In the December 2000 issue of Political Science Gould argues that the method chosen by Te Puni Kokiri for measuring ethnic ‘gaps’ leads serious distortion. Gould claims that his alternative, a ratio of percentages, is conceptually superior. It fact, it is not at all clear what such a ‘ratio of ratios’ means, nor are changes in it easy to interpret.

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  • The occupational distribution of Maori 1997-2000

    Sutherland, Hilary J; Alexander, W Robert J (2002-04)

    Working or discussion paper
    University of Otago

    We focus on one aspect of labour market discrimination in New Zealand, namely occupational segregation. Using unit record data from Statistics New Zealand’s 1997 to 2000 Income Surveys and controlling for productivity characteristics, we find evidence that Maori are consistently segregated into lower occupational classes than their measurable characteristics would predict. In addition, we estimate that discrimination of some form accounts for between 30% to 48% of the Pakeha/Maori wage differential.

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