Monthly Archives: June 2005

Going With the Flow

I’ve argued recently that state governments should put up water prices and compensate low-income households. So while I’m pleased to see the NSW government putting up the price a bit, it’s a shame to see that there’s no compensation in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Teacher Incentives

In the US, the bipartisan bill providing extra resources to reward high-performing teachers who work in the most disadvantaged schools seems to be gathering momentum. The House Democrats have just set up a website on it. This isn’t a perfect … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Calling a Dictator a Dictator

Bizarrely, Australia is giving a generous welcome to Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf. This despite a chilling tale from Nicholas Kristof, reporting that Musharraf has just ordered the detention of a gang rape victim who works to raise awareness of violence … Continue reading

Posted in Global issues

What Goes Down May Go Up

Responding to the federal government’s proposal to create an Australian Fair Pay Commission (modelled on the beautifully named UK "Low Pay Commission"), the ALP’s current plan of attack is to oppose the legislation. As an lawyer-turned-economist, I must confess to … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 3 Comments

Don't Mention the C Word

Louise Dodson today discusses Labor’s response to the tax cuts in the SMH. Here’s a few choice quotes: Kim Beazley has resorted to a touch of class warfare, not to mention good old-fashioned populism, in a seat-by-seat campaign designed to … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 9 Comments

An Empirical Test of the Flypaper Effect

There’s some sort of sap that falls from the gumtrees around our home at this time of year. And right at the same time, the autumn leaves have fallen. I took our long-haired Keeshond ("Texas") for a walk the other … Continue reading

Posted in Games

Honouring Teachers

In a must-read article for anyone who cares about teacher quality, Thomas Friedman highlights a program run by Williams College to recognise great teachers. It’d be superb if we could get similar programs running in a few Australian universities, supplementing … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues

Leadership Without Easy Answers

Economists tend to roll our eyes when we see the word "leadership". But a subject I did at Harvard, based on the work of academic Ronald Heifetz, convinced me that this needn’t be the case.* A friend of mine, Paul … Continue reading

Posted in Interesting stuff | 4 Comments

The Hamlin for Nobel Campaign Begins

So far as I know, no Australian has ever won the Nobel Peace Prize. In the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof makes the case for the award going to Catherine Hamlin, an Aussie doctor treating African women with fistulas.

Posted in Global issues

Let the Data Go Free

I’ve been arguing for the last five years, in cahoots with my high school buddy Justin Wolfers, that the Australian Bureau of Statistics should provide all data free on its website, just like its sensible US counterpart does (Australian university … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 2 Comments

Eddie Mabo Day

While I’m as happy as anyone to get a three-day break this weekend, the Queen’s Birthday holiday must surely be one of the most bizarre dates in our nation’s calendar.* In Imagining Australia, we propose that it be scrapped, and … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 6 Comments

Milton Friedman Comes Out for Pot

Milton Friedman, one of the doyens of the economics profession, is one of 500 economists who has just come out in favour of legalising marijuana. The push is centred around a new study by Boston University’s Jeffrey Miron, which looks … Continue reading

Posted in Food and Drink | 2 Comments

Teacher Merit Pay

I’ve been banging on about teacher merit pay lately, so was interested by the news that there’s a bipartisan movement in the US to put up some federal money to reward high-performing teachers in high-poverty schools. Downunder, Nelson and Macklin … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues

State of Iraq

The quarterly "State of Iraq" figures, by Mike O’Hanlon and coauthors, came out in the NYT last Fri. Here’s their summary (click on the chart on the left to enlarge): "Many Iraqis today are wealthier than they were before the … Continue reading

Posted in Iraq

Laboring Away

I’ve tended to be pretty sanguine about Labor’s current standing in the polls, tending to argue to those who fret that the party is doomed that the ALP now isn’t that different to the Coalition in 1993. But a piece … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 2 Comments

Mind, I mean, Case Closed

In 2003, I wrote a paper (followed by a minor erratum) on the employment effect of minimum wages, using a Western Australian natural experiment, and finding an employment elasticity with the respect to the minimum wage of -0.3 for all … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 5 Comments

Attitudes to IR issues

Andrew Norton has an article in the CIS magazine Policy on popular opinion and a raft of employment issues, including job security, unions, and industrial relations reform. You don’t have to agree with all his policy recommendations to find the … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues

The Bloghiatus is Over

Flew back into Sydney this morning, so can guarantee I’ll be blogging more regularly from now on than I was when in the US (I have about a dozen posts I’ve been meaning to write). Three quick things for today. … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 5 Comments

To IR is Human

As a library labour economist, it seems about time I wrote something about the proposed IR changes. Fair Pay Commission Relative to the AIRC, it seems likely that under a Fair Pay Commission will lead to lower real minimum wages.* … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues


When living in the US, I would often describe my academic speciality to Americans, and have them mis-hear me in a very consistent way. But after 10 months back in Australia I’d forgotten how my accent and field interact. Which … Continue reading

Posted in Travel | 3 Comments


Well, after four days cruising the roads of Utah, I can highly recommend it. Everywhere you drive, snowcapped mountains line the horizon, while the landscape changes from red rock to wild-west scrub to pine forest. In Zion, we climbed "Angel’s … Continue reading

Posted in Religion | 4 Comments

Distribution of the Tax Cuts Across Households

The following piece appeared in the AFR last Saturday. Apologies for the delay in posting it – Macgregor and I have been on the road. Utah tales coming shortly…

Posted in Uncategorized