NZSEI represents an attempt to derive an occupation-based measure of socioeconomic status for New Zealand

The forerunner of NZSEI was the widely-used Elley-Irving scale, which assigned occupations to one of six socioeconomic status groups based on equal weighting of education level and income associated with each occupation. NZSEI represents an attempt to derive an occupation-based measure of socioeconomic status for New Zealand that can be used as both a continuous and a group measure, and is grounded in a conceptual model that differs slightly from the Elley-Irving framework.

The framework used for NZSEI is the ‘returns to human capital’ model, which was first developed for the International Socioeconomic Index (ISEI). This model posits that there is a relationship between cultural capital and material rewards, and that this relationship is mediated by occupation. More simply, the ‘returns to human capital’ model views occupation as the means by which one’s education is converted into income. Thus, differences in occupation are likely to represent differences in life chances and opportunity, and on this basis, occupation can be used to stratify individuals according to socioeconomic status.

The original version, NZSEI-91, was derived using 1991 Census data. Since then there have similarly been NZSEI-96, NZSEI-06, and the most recent NZSEI-13. These two most recent versions have been developed through summer studentships within COMPASS. Reports on these are available as below, along with the derivation of scores for NZSEI-13.

*
NZSEI06-final-print.pdf
(2.2 MB, PDF)
*
nzsei-2013.pdf
(2.3 MB, PDF)
*
NZSEI-13 scores.xlsx
(14.2 kB, EXCEL)