Monthly Archives: September 2005

Sacred Cows 1, Beazley 1

Two much-cherished principles among many on the left are that school choice will hurt the poor, and that HECS deters poor students. In his speech to the ANZSOG schools conference, Labor leader Kim Beazley yesterday took on the first. As … Continue reading

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The Anti-Latham

For non-Melbournians, don’t miss Dennis Glover’s antidote to Mark Latham’s Melbourne University speech. Dennis’s column in The Age today is entitled "Ten reasons why politics can be great".

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Teacher Quality and Quality Teaching

I spoke this morning in Sydney at the ANZSOG schools conference*, alongside Bill Louden (Edith Cowan Uni) and Ken Rowe (ACER). By the end, we were in furious agreement about the importance of teacher quality in improving educational outcomes. Except … Continue reading

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The Peter Saunders Wars

I’ve just finished reading a book by the left-wing Peter Saunders, entitled The Poverty Wars. Much of it is a critique of the right-wing Peter Saunders, which as the author mentions at the outset has caused them both frustration.* He … Continue reading

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A Suitable Book

I finished Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy on the weekend, only a decade after everyone else. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but when I got to the end of this 1500-page tome, I … Continue reading

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Fels Firms

Our very own Allan Fels has firmed to a 69% chance of winning the top job at the OECD, according to NewsFutures. The member nations are expected to pick a Secretary-General by 1 December 2005.

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ACE

I spent yesterday at the Australian Conference of Economists, aptly* held at the University of Melbourne. In a session organised by Tim Fry and Sinclair Davidson, Sinclair presented a paper of theirs on trust and the 2004 election, and I … Continue reading

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Clear and Present Danger?

Over at Ambit Gambit, Graham Young highlights the recent findings of a report on the attitudes of candidates in the 2004 federal election. When asked how to rate the US as a threat to Australian security, 21.9 per cent of … Continue reading

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Fan Number K9

Well, we all celebrate our team’s victory differently — and at the end of the game, our pup looked as excited as the rest of us at the ol’ Swannies finally making it after 72 years. So I figured it’d … Continue reading

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What Me, Vote?

Much of what comes out of economics can be said to be either (a) obvious, or (b) trivial. Paul Samuelson once nominated free trade as his favourite economic finding that didn’t fall into either of these categories. Another is the … Continue reading

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Taking a Punt

Over at Marginal Revolution, there’s some interesting research going on. Tyler Cowen shows that Google’s internal prediction markets did a pretty good job of predicting the occurrence of events which were of strategic importance to the firm, while Alex Tabarrok … Continue reading

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Rita's ETA (or Out of the Frying Pan)

Poor Scott Parkin. First he’s deported by Aussie authorities for reasons unknown. Next, he gets an $11,000 bill from us for his stay in the Melbourne Assessment Prison, and his flight back to the US with some friendly AFP fellas. … Continue reading

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Economist Made Good

A new Vikram Seth novel is out. Entitled Two Lives, it’s a mere 512 pages. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I can recommend skimming reviews in the Guardian, Times and Independent, and reading a gem of … Continue reading

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Are Kids Better Off if Mum Works?

University of North Carolina’s Christopher Ruhm looks at a key issue underlying not only US welfare reform, but also the recent Australian changes to the parenting payment program. Does encouraging poor parents to work help or hinder their children’s outcomes? … Continue reading

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Wonks Ahoy

A friend just forwarded me a link to the Harvard Social Science Statistics Blog, one of the wonkiest blogs I’ve yet come across – but probably interesting to anyone else doing applied research (John Friedman’s discussion of "censoring due to … Continue reading

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From Classroom to Courtroom

Reading the papers today, you don’t get a lot of new insights about Justice Crennan. Apart from recycling some decade-old barbs towards feminists, the pundits seem pretty unclear about where she’ll stand on the big constitutional questions (Chris Mitchell at … Continue reading

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Crennan J

So the Howard government has finally decided to put a woman on the High Court. Federal Court judge Susan Crennan will replace Justice McHugh. She sounds quite a polymath – with interests in history and literature as well as law. … Continue reading

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I’m told by a little birdie (who will hopefully grow up to be a legal eagle) that the announcement of the next High Court judge is coming today or tomorrow. After 4 male appointments, could it be that the Howard … Continue reading

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A Bit Rich

The head of the ACCI, Peter Hendy, today argues for more tax cuts for the rich. Among his arguments are that: (a) because it’s the 20th anniversary of the last big top tax rate cut, we should do it again, … Continue reading

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Trust in Pollies

The first book I ever worked on was an edited book on trust in politicians. At the time, our publishers (UNSW Press) thought the situation was so bad that the cover image they chose was of one dog sniffing another … Continue reading

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Osama and the Opel

Some things, as Donald Rumsfeld has pointed out, are unknown unknowns – we don’t know we didn’t know them until someone points it out. So it is for The Impact of 9/11 on Road Fatalities: We find that driving fatalities … Continue reading

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Excuses, Excuses

In a rather embarrassing twist on the "dog ate my homework" excuse, our puppy (pictured left after rolling in leaves) came across a pile of students’ papers I was marking this weekend, and decided that a couple of them would … Continue reading

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Right, Left, North, South

The Left seems to be doing better in the southern hemisphere than the northern hemisphere this weekend. Downunder, NSW Labor held its 3 seats and Helen Clark is at least a chance of forming government in NZ. Up north, Tradesports … Continue reading

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Still the Lucky Country

With two of my Imagining Australia coauthors, I have a piece in today’s Canberra Times on the enduring relevance of Donald Horne’s 1964 tome. Full text over the fold.

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Polemic v Policy

Amidst the sound and fury of the Latham diaries, Craig Emerson, Bob McMullan and Lindsay Tanner have released another trio of "Progressive Essays" with Dave Peebles discussing Labor’s marketing plan, former US Ambassador Don Russell making what sounds like a … Continue reading

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Blogging and Academia

As a young(ish) economist, I frequently worry about whether blogging is positive, neutral, or negative for one’s professional standing. Three recent sets of writings take differing views. In an IEA discussion paper, Daniel Klein emphasises the professional cost of participating … Continue reading

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Kiddie Safe?

Steve Levitt continues his reputation for counter-intuitive economics with a new working paper (which he tantalisingly alluded to in Freakonomics) arguing that child safety seats don’t make kids safer. Evidence that Seat Belts are as Effective as Child Safety Seats … Continue reading

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Guns, Cute Solicitors and Labour Laws

It’s a bonzer week for labour economics nerds. Below are abstracts for three interesting new working papers out from the NBER. In the olden days, I’d probably set out to write one or more of them up as opeds. A … Continue reading

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Katrina Kompo

The Becker-Posner blog dives headfirst into turbulent waters, considering appropriate compensation for Hurricane Katrina victims. Posner argues that: First, there should be no compensation to affluent people who could have insured against their loss, whether or not they actually bought … Continue reading

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Betting & Polls

Time for a quick roundup of what the betting markets and polls say about future elections. Tradesports has the Christian Democrats a 90% favourite to win this weekend’s German election – suggesting a much more commanding position than the commentary … Continue reading

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