The higher the prop shaft the less bow lift.
I'll explain it the way it was taught to me by Buzzi. The higher the prop shaft the less prop/gear you have in the water to pivot the boat with, your not carring the boat at that point your purely making thrust. This is a good thing. Since we can't pivot the boat to make the bow lift we need to make the boat want to ride with it's bow up naturally. To do that we make the hull with an extreme amount of rocker so it's natural tendency is to ride bow up.
Buzzi used the steps more for the rocker than for a break in the surface tension, not that the steps didn't do that well but he needed lots of bow lift because we ran an extreme negative trim angle on the drives as compared to a stern drive. The drive angles wnated to drive the boat down in front.
Look at all the boats, V or cat that run high drive heights and go fast, lots of rocker created by hull shape or steps? Straight bottom with high drives just doesn't perform the way you want it to?
When you ask about stern lift, I don't think you realy lift the stern as much as loose the bow lift - my opinion only.