Inequality has made New Zealand poorer – OECD

A lack of improvement in productivity has been cited as a problem for New Zealand – is that why we feature poorly here?

Rising inequality holds back economic growth — according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The organization, which is primarily composed of high-income countries, analyzed economic growth from 1990 to 2010 and found that almost all 21 examined countries missed out on economic growth due to rising inequalities. (We take a closer look at the countries that were hardest hit in the second half of this post.)

“When income inequality rises, economic growth falls,” the authors of the report concluded.

They explained their findings by pointing out that wealth gaps hold back the skills development of children — particularly those with parents who have a poorer education background. In other words: A lack of access to high-quality and long-term education among poorer citizens in many OECD countries hurts the economy.

Generally I though access to education was good in New Zealand.

Are failures due to financial inequality, or to an inequality of encouragement of parents and ambition of children and young adults. Lack of hope?

RNZ (June 2017) – NZ’s weak productivity in OECD’s sights

New Zealanders enjoy high living standards, but the country’s low labour productivity continues to be a weakness, the latest OECD report says.

In its latest two-yearly review of the economy, the Paris-based organisation forecast robust growth of about 3 percent over the next couple of years, and noted the government’s healthy financial position.

Overall, New Zealanders enjoyed high living standards, with all components of the Better Life Index stronger than the OECD average except for household disposable income and wealth.

“New Zealand’s robust economic growth and high levels of well-being are enviable, even among the highest-performing OECD countries,” OECD chief economist Catherine Mann said.

However, labour productivity remained an Achilles heel for New Zealand – and well below leading OECD countries.

“Improving productivity growth is a major long-term challenge for improving inclusiveness and living standards,” the report said.

New Zealand’s persistently low productivity has long puzzled the OECD, despite expectations the far-reaching reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s – which the OECD championed – would reverse that.

It blames the weak performance on the country’s distance from its main markets, relatively small population, weak capital investment and a lack of competition internally.

Stuff (September 2017) – Shamubeel Eaqub: New Zealand has a productivity problem

We are working harder to grow the economy, but we aren’t getting much better at it. Poor productivity has plagued New Zealand for the past 40 years.

We have a productivity problem. The problem is not new, there are no easy fixes, and doing more of the same will most certainly not fix it. We should not pretend that any of the political parties have a convincing plan to fix it.

70 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  March 7, 2018

    NZ leads the way….no brainer …financial inequality.As has been mentioned- before the neo liberal experiment of trickle down b/s, a teacher earned as much as a backbench M.P.Today that M.P earns 3x…more.Ludicrous executive pay in the private and public sector ,justified by ‘its the going rate for talent’ has been exposed time and again as an absolute construct.The un and deregulated financial sector is the cause of inequality.$NZ500 billion in fines paid by banks in the last 10years is an indictment on the whole capitalist…system.

    • PDB

       /  March 7, 2018

      “It blames the weak performance on the country’s distance from its main markets, relatively small population, weak capital investment and a lack of competition internally.”

      None of which the new govt will/can fix;

      *distance from its main markets – not much you can do there.
      *relatively small population – they are for majorly reducing immigration.
      *weak capital investment – wont happen under this govt.
      *lack of competition internally – this govt hates competition of any sort.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 7, 2018

        So the Government are for reducing the population growth (although they have notably done nothing towards this as yet despite the rhetoric)
        They are also passing legislation that will reduce capital investment – as the select committee on banning foreign buyers is revealing. There is a lot of overseas money that is earmarked for development that will not longer be coming if the bill is passed.
        And as you say, competition is a dirty dirty word to this government.

        So not much chance of improvement in the next 3 years, despite the full weight of fish and chip shop experience being poured into the improvement of our nation.

        • Blazer

           /  March 7, 2018

          you must be kidding…we know foreign buyers only make up a paltry 3% of total….you haven’t forgotten…already!Bol.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 7, 2018

            That’s house buyers. The legislation will affect a large number of big developments being funded by overseas capital.
            As an example, Spark have submitted that the roll-out of 5G broadband would be held back several years due the provisions of the bill preventing overseas finance coming in.
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12007127

            • Blazer

               /  March 7, 2018

              quoting Hosking as an authority!Too funny…what foreign investors promise to do or no to do,should be taken with a grain of salt.Plenty of examples where they…’change their mind’…in real time.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 7, 2018

              I wasn’t quoting Hosking. The article had nothing to do with him – comprehension fail…again.

            • Blazer

               /  March 7, 2018

              @HFD…so your link to ‘Mikes minute’ and his opinion had no bearing on the actual topic you refer to…then!Fail …alright!

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 8, 2018

              The Mike’s Minute video was below the headline and above the article I linked to.
              The article had nothing to do with the video. That’;s just the Herald for you.
              Did you get past Primary School Blazer because the level of obtuseness you display on a regular basis is worse than my 9 year old son.

            • Blazer

               /  March 8, 2018

              ‘The article had nothing to do with him – ‘ That’;s just the Herald for you.’If your 9 y.o son is obtuse I daresay he is a ‘chip off the old block’.Look on the bright side…at least he won’t have much to…live up to.

      • Blazer

         /  March 7, 2018

        ‘weak capital investment’…why invest in anything other than RE,when a house made more than the average wage every week under the previous Govt.

      • Mefrostate

         /  March 7, 2018

        I think you’ve got a fairly reasonable point here, PDB, but I think Labour might have the upper hand on the capital investment bullet-point. By nature of working to dampen house prices, this should have the indirect effect of encouraging capital to seek more productive destinations.

        • PDB

           /  March 7, 2018

          Like HFD I think unintended consequences from the legislation will in fact reduce capital investment. House prices wont go down long term as it is New Zealanders that have been pushing up house prices in this country.

          • Mefrostate

             /  March 7, 2018

            Disclaimer, I don’t think the foreign ownership ban was good policy.

            But I’m talking more about Labour a) KiwiBuild, b) changes to land regulation to build up & out, and c) tax changes to discourage land banking.

            Combined these should provide a credible threat that owning land will be less profitable in the future, which should encourage those New Zealanders you talk about to look for other investment options.

            Now, whether Labour actually achieve any/all of the above, is yet to be seen.

  2. David

     /  March 7, 2018

    Didnt we get an update from Stats to our GDP measurement late last year that debunked the myth of poor productivity and showed the economy grew quicker than previously thought.
    I think if you look at France and Spain and their youth unemployment rates which would not be acceptable here, they both have huge debts and are in deficit as well as numerous other issues we dont have.
    Absolutely no way we have worse inequality than the US, there are 60,000 homeless people in California alone, the home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

    • Blazer

       /  March 7, 2018

      No we didn’t.Productivity has been flat for the last 5 years.National Govt spin on the rockstar economy was dependent on immigration and stellar property …prices.

        • Blazer

           /  March 7, 2018

          as mentioned…’Taking population growth out of the equation, the economy’s growth-rate was less impressive, with per-capita growth of 0.2 per cent in the September quarter and 0.5 per cent in the three months to the end of June. ‘…shows how reliable stats…are.I will again paraphrase ANZ economist Sharon Zollner…’govts have little to do with economic performance’…interest and forex rates are the key factors.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 7, 2018

            Immigration has the effect of lowering GDP per capita, as people are not productive from day one – it takes time to integrate and start businesses.
            Despite this NZ has had strong GDP growth and has exceeded most other nations.
            Always looking for the negative doesn’t make you right Blazer…

            • alloytoo

               /  March 7, 2018

              Immigrants don’t take 12-18 years to educate and train.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 7, 2018

              Not sure what your point is Alloytoo?
              The growth in net immigration kicked off in about 2013 and wasn’t large until 2014.

              Sudden high levels of immigtration take some time to flow through to GDP, but despite that we have good GDP growth and have positive GDP growth per capita at a time when many countries have no growth at all.

            • Blazer

               /  March 7, 2018

              Gee here’s me thinking over 200,000 on work visa’s every year,actually had PRODUCTIVE …work…to do!

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 7, 2018

              Gee, you’re a simpleton.

            • Blazer

               /  March 7, 2018

              @HFD…reduced to ad hom attacks now…why am I…not surprised.

            • alloytoo

               /  March 7, 2018

              @HFD.

              That immigrants are basically free and that their return in productivity and taxes is unencumbered by education costs. I believe treasury did some numbers a few years ago.

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 7, 2018

              Yeah HFD you’re well wrong about immigrants taking time to contribute to GDP. Most start working & consuming immediately. Their net effect on GDP per capita really depends on whether you’re talking about skilled or unskilled migrants. NZ brings in both.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 7, 2018

              Mefro – so the OECD is wrong?

              the Chief Economist of the Organisation for Economic Development:

              “The reason GDP per capita is low in New Zealand is down to the denominator. “Because of the immigration; the per-capita part.”

              For other parts of the OECD, it’s growing slowly relative to historical averages more due to the numerator – the GDP part. At least we’re not part of that club.

              But again, should we be concerned a little even? We’re told immigrants are overrunning our housing market, healthcare system, schools, transport and anything else we want to complain about.

              “It makes a difference today in terms of spending power, but if we think about the source of economic growth in a longer-term perspective, then the source of growth coming from immigration – educated workers supporting the capacity of the economy to grow in the longer term – this is clearly an asset for New Zealand going forward.”

              We should be encouraged about the longer term by recent immigration rates, then?

              Immigration has been particularly robust over only a short period of time, Mann said. “The fruits of all those people coming in are only going to gain over time as people enter their middle age earning years.”

              In fact, New Zealand is experiencing benefits already. These people are generally skilled, higher-earning and working. They’re a factor in our lower unemployment rate, high participation rate and high employment rate.

              We’re already seeing the benefits flow through to GDP. “It’s only when we look at GDP per capita that the denominator stands out.”

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 7, 2018

              Allytoo, the “cost” of immigrants is irrelevant to GDP per capita. It is their contribution to economic activity.

              “GDP per capita in the projection is actually lower than previous periods. Why is that? It’s because of immigration,” Mann* said.

              “Very large immigration is the denominator of GDP per capita.”

              It might sound concerning, but there could be a happy ending.

              Immigration means “great potential.” Potential going forward to increase the capacity of the economy to deliver on promises. That’s the good part.

              “But it might take some time.”

              During that transition, we need to think about how to position the New Zealand economy to take advantage of all that recent immigration.

              “There’s some bumps along the road perhaps.”

              And if we ride out those bumps?

              We might find we get higher real wages, Mann said. New Zealand real wages are even expected to rise at rates above the historical norm from 2018 – better than in the US and Euro area.

              “That’s important when we’re thinking about expectations, confidence, for the kinds of growth going forward.”

              “It has the foundation of both improved employment prospects as well as improved real wage prospects. Both of those are key underpinnings of more broad-based growth for New Zealand.”

              *Catherine L. Mann

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 7, 2018

              @HFD Nothing that you quoted contradicts my point: “Most start working & consuming immediately. Their net effect on GDP per capita really depends on whether you’re talking about skilled or unskilled migrants. NZ brings in both.”

              Mann clearly believes we’re leaning towards the unskilled side of that equation, and thus that the net effect on GDP/capita has been negative so far.

              Your general point that immigrants take time to start contributing is not accurate.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 8, 2018

              Not quite correct Mefro,
              She said that when you have high levels of immigration in a short period of time you are importing potential. Which is exactly what I was saying.
              She said the denominator increases and the numerator follows over time – once more, exactly what I was saying.
              I don’t disagree with you that immigrants have varying skills, but the effect on GDP is not immediate.

              This is the important part:

              “Very large immigration is the denominator of GDP per capita.”

              It might sound concerning, but there could be a happy ending.

              Immigration means “great potential.” Potential going forward to increase the capacity of the economy to deliver on promises. That’s the good part.

              “But it might take some time.”

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              Alright, HFD. Our understanding here might be pretty similar. I don’t see any reason why someone on a skilled-worker visa entering a job that pays above the average income wouldn’t immediately be raising GDP/capita.

          • SO why do run down National so much if governments have so little to do with economic performance??? You’re a true heads I win, tails you lose merchant…

            • Blazer

               /  March 8, 2018

              Mann is so vague as to be an unreliable source…’but there could be a happy ending.’…’could’…’“But it might take some time.”….’might’…
              ‘we need to think about how to position the New Zealand economy to take advantage of all that recent immigration.’…..reactive insteadof pro-active=another fail for HFD.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 8, 2018

              She’s the Chief Economist for the OECD and was reflecting the views of the OECD. If you want vague, try reading some of your efforts.

            • Blazer

               /  March 8, 2018

              @HFD…economist John Galbraith….’Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists’
              but I like this one even better…’

              The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.’

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 8, 2018

              So why comment on the inequality report made by the same people…at the OECD?

            • Blazer

               /  March 8, 2018

              @HFD…’So why comment on the inequality report made by the same people…at the OECD?’…A=because I felt…like it.

  3. Kabull

     /  March 7, 2018

    Note that the report covers the period 1990-2010, so it is hardly current. And the last Govt only ‘ruled’ for the last 2 years of the period.
    This type of report does little to guide policy makers because by the time it is published it is seriously out-dated.

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      @Kabull, has inequality increased, decreased, or stayed the same since 2010?

  4. sorethumb

     /  March 7, 2018

    Savings Working Group
    January 2011
    “The big adverse gap in productivity between New Zealand and other countries opened up from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The policy choice that increased immigration – given the number of employers increasingly unable to pay First-World wages to the existing population and all the capital requirements that increasing populations involve – looks likely to have worked almost directly against the adjustment New Zealand needed to make and it might have been better off with a lower rate of net immigration. This adjustment would have involved a lower real interest rate (and cost of capital) and a lower real exchange rate, meaning a more favourable environment for raising the low level of productive capital per worker and labour productivity. The low level of capital per worker is a striking symptom of New Zealand’s economic challenge.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/reviews-consultation/savingsworkinggroup/pdfs/swg-report-jan11.pdf

  5. Corky

     /  March 7, 2018

    You aced it at the beginning, Pete.

    ”Generally I though access to education was good in New Zealand.”

    We have an ‘attitude” problem. Followed by an ”education” problem.

  6. robertguyton

     /  March 7, 2018

    “We should really thank Winston. He has terminated the tragedy of the Key era in NZ politics.”

    “Hear hear to that !
    NO ONE outsmarts the Silver Fox. And anyone who thinks they can, should know better than that.”

    ” National had a really good election result for a government 9 straight terms in. There is no reason to go all House of Lannister on their asses internally.
    It tells me that without Key and the primary steadying force (similar to loss of Clark and Cullen), they are simply drifting around without a steadying disciplinary core, and will continue to do so.”
    A selection of comments from around the traps.

  7. Zedd

     /  March 7, 2018

    Ive been saying all along; ‘MIND THE GAP”
    BUT all the kiwi Tories just ignored it or were happily rubbing their hands together.. until it makes world news & suddenly the ‘Shit hits the fan’ how unequal this country has become !

    Aotearoa/NZ under the previous Nat’-led Govt. has become a haven for the; greedy, smug & selfish pricks who are quite happy to keep the 2 speed economy, going ‘full steam ahead’ as long as they are still sitting on the ‘Top Table’ (top 10%) throwing the scraps to the rest of us !! 😦

    • PDB

       /  March 7, 2018

      ‘Inequality’ is a nonsense – just because the Jonesy’s next door have more money than you doesn’t mean you are not well off & comfortable. The fact you think that there is some sort of limited pool of money available to everyone in this country which means the top 10% are somehow taking money from the bottom % shows your lack of understanding in how economics actually works.

      Even then income inequality in NZ (Gini coefficient) has remained relatively static since the early 1990’s under both Labour & National govts. In fact the big jump in inequality happened under the 1980’s Labour govt, not National.

      • Zedd

         /  March 7, 2018

        just look at the graph Pantzi.. which country is ‘the WORST’ on this ?
        Pls enlighten us all… further… :/

        • High Flying Duck

           /  March 7, 2018

          The report covers the period 1990 – 2010, so all of the last Labour Government and only the first 2 years of the JK government when the GFC was at it’s worst.
          Thankfully the policies of National have corrected many of the grievous problems that were created under the Clark government (as shown in the report).

          • Blazer

             /  March 7, 2018

            What problems’ did National correct?(won’t hold my breath).We know they exacerbated many=’The growth in net immigration kicked off in about… 2013 and wasn’t large until 2014.’.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 7, 2018

              That comment assumes immigration is a problem. It isn’t.

            • Blazer

               /  March 7, 2018

              @HFD…’what problems did National ‘correct’?Go ahead.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 7, 2018

              Increased real wages over time, reduced beneficiary numbers as a percentage of population and restructured the whole welfare sector, created conditions for broad based growth across a number of industries leading to rapid decline in unemployment after the GFC, turned around the predicted ‘decade of deficits’ to a surplus created favourable conditions to turn around the emmigration crisis and grow net immigration, raised beneficiary payments in real terms for the first time in decades. Upset people like Robert and yourself.
              Among others.

            • Blazer

               /  March 7, 2018

              very selective,very vague ‘corrections’ you have there.Her’s some reality…
              ‘Clark’s fifth Labour Government reduced debt from 22.6 per cent of GDP in 2000 to 5.5 per cent in 2008.’
              ‘Labour Government went from a $386 million deficit in 2001, to a $2.8b surplus in 2008.’
              ‘During Key’s National Government, debt as a percentage of GDP went from 9.1 per cent in 2009 to 24.6 per cent in 2016.’
              ‘ Clark’s finance minister Sir Michael Cullen squirreled away savings, paying off debt and using the surplus for investment.

              On the other hand, international conditions were much less benign under the Key-English Government, so National “cannibalised” a lot of the Cullen reserves to ease us though the GFC’
              Laura Walters..Stuff.

          • Zedd

             /  March 7, 2018

            really… of just the peak

        • Zeddyyyy… the secret to a happy life is not to envy others…the inequality religion sweeping Lefties is a reflect of ENVY… not a lot more.

          1917 – Life expectancy was what? Education levels were what? Ability to buy goods to make your life comfortable was what? Availability of welfare support was what? Access to medical aid was what?

          There is no meaningful inequality – there is just leftie envy of those with a bit more, the vast majority with a bit more spend their time working hard, spending well and saving hard to build assets.

          Let the envy go and look at the real world.

          And Blazer this is for you as well – your eyes glow green with envy and your keyboard drips green with malice….

          • Blazer

             /  March 7, 2018

            ‘envy’…tired old cliche to justify unbridled ,immoral greed by the few at the expense of….many.

            • Oh Blazer… the green fair drips…. drips from your eyes and fingers…. ya so bitter you should support Everton

      • Blazer

         /  March 7, 2018

        first paragraph,denies inequality exists.Second paragraph confirms it does….BUT!

        • PDB

           /  March 7, 2018

          You can’t read – first paragraph says ‘inequality’ is not important in the way it is politicised here, the 2nd paragraph says the measurement they use shows no real change since the early 1990’s in this country.

  8. PartisanZ

     /  March 7, 2018

    “Poor productivity has plagued New Zealand for the past 40 years.”

    “When income inequality rises, economic growth falls” and income inequality has been rising for around the last 40 years …

    Now if I was Lobster Man, I’d say “Therefore … Rising income inequality, falling economic growth and poor productivity are coefficients of whatever has been happening over the last 40 years!”

    I’d dearly love to know why we had better productivity when we had less income inequality yet more economic growth during our supposedly “socialist” era 1935 – 84? Why is that …?

    It’s surely counter-intuitive to neoliberal Man? Or perhaps its intuitive to Mankind? Something that numbers on a balance sheet simply can’t explain? (A bit like Lobster brain serotonin levels can’t explain Human socio-cultural evolution).

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 7, 2018

    I suspect the article is complete b.s. and a case of correlation is not causation. For obvious example the two countries with decreasing inequality over that period were Greece and Turkey. No prizes for guessing whether those are economic success stories.

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      Your critique makes no sense. Their argument isn’t that lower inequality will always improve growth, but rather that inequality can have a limiting effect on growth, ceteris paribus.

      There are factors that drive growth other than inequality, and Greece & Turkey have obvious institutional problems killing their growth. But their econometric model suggested that Turkey’s growth could have been 4.6% higher than it was, if inequality were lower.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 7, 2018

        In the two decades the “study” examined many inter-related social and economic changes other than increasing inequality took place affecting both growth and prosperity. I think we are being told a small and selective part of the story.

        • Mefrostate

           /  March 7, 2018

          Well it’s pretty unsurprising to me that a project titled ‘Closing the Loop: How Inequality Affects Economic Growth and Social Cohesion’ would produce a “study” titled ‘Trends in Income Inequality and its Impact on Economic Growth.’

          If you have concerns over their technique for analyzing the myriad of social & economic changes, and the validity of their conclusions, you should make them explicit rather than make vague appeals to selective communication.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 8, 2018

            Are you saying the mission foretold the outcome? I had a quick look for details of the study yesterday without success so lack of time left me just voicing suspicions. Obviously poor education is a negative impact on a nation but that makes inequality a consequence, not a cause.

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              “Are you saying the mission foretold the outcome?”

              No.

              “I had a quick look for details of the study yesterday without success”

              It’s literally linked in Pete’s post.

              Anyway, from where did you pull “the two countries with decreasing inequality over that period were Greece and Turkey” if you didn’t find the original report?

              “so lack of time left me just voicing suspicions.”

              Unsurprisingly, your uninformed suspicions simply reflected your innate bias, were inaccurate, and corroded the conversation.

              “Obviously poor education is a negative impact on a nation but that makes inequality a consequence, not a cause.”

              Before we discuss this, did you actually review the authors’ empirical strategy, or are you operating on suspicions again?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 8, 2018

              The link gave me only an abstract and a link in it just recycled to itself. The abstract showed the Greek and Turkey exceptions.

              B.s. to the rest of your comment.

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              “The link gave me only an abstract and a link in it just recycled to itself”

              Try the big “PDF” button at the top.

              “The abstract showed the Greek and Turkey exceptions.”

              Turkey is not mentioned on any of the pages linked in Pete’s post.

              “B.s. to the rest of your comment.”

              This isn’t an argument, it’s just contradiction. (No it isn’t!)

            • robertguyton

               /  March 8, 2018

              “Unsurprisingly, your uninformed suspicions simply reflected your innate bias, were inaccurate, and corroded the conversation.”
              Elegant!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 8, 2018

              Greece and Turkey are shown on the WaPo story Pete linked. The “big PDF button” is a tiny dot on my phone Chrome page and I missed it. The link below it is shown in normal letters and it just recycles to itself.

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              “Greece and Turkey are shown on the WaPo story Pete linked.”

              Ah, okay.

              “The “big PDF button” is a tiny dot on my phone Chrome page and I missed it. The link below it is shown in normal letters and it just recycles to itself.”

              Gotcha. Now you’ve got access to the full report, we await your informed opinion with baited breath.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 8, 2018

            Well, that was a waste of time and energy. So the analysis was on the basis of GDP, Gini, Years of education, and non-residential investment. Population growth, capital depreciation and technological progress were ignored (along with a lot of other stuff like trade barriers, costs and regulatory interventions). The education data was poor and the Gini data is based on self-reported household surveys.

            Its investigation of the link between inequality and education achievement appears to ignore the impact of welfare traps. It also ignores the transformation of work reducing the availability of unskilled work and thereby the impact of poor education.

            It is hardly surprising that poor education leads to inequality and poor GDP growth. The assumption that inequality is the cause rather than the effect leads to the proposition that throwing more money at the problem will solve it rather than making it worse. I presume that was the basis on which the study was launched.