Monthly Archives: July 2006

Is Declining Union Membership Paul Keating's Fault?

In today’s Age, Monash University’s Paul Rodan is kind enough to cite my research: What was lost was not just a section of the loyal blue-collar ALP voter base, but also some of that unionised workplace environment in which a Labor … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 14 Comments

Shades of Grey vs Black and White

Boyd Hunter, probably the leading Australian economist working on Indigenous issues, is giving a lecture next week, entitled “Why Indigenous Policy Needs to be Based on Evidence and Not Hyperbole”. The lecture will be on Thu 3 Aug, in the Manning … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality

Legislating two-digit hourly wages

In a move that will make Barbara Ehrenreich happier than Jason Furman, Chicago has passed a new ordinance: After months of fevered lobbying and bitter debate, the Chicago City Council passed a ground-breaking ordinance yesterday requiring “big box” stores, like … Continue reading

Posted in Low Wage Work, US Politics | 5 Comments

Facts vs fear

One of the great things about being in the US is being able to watch the C-SPAN channel. Last night, it carried Bill Clinton’s July 24 speech supporting Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary. It’s a terrific speech, and if a … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

DC gossip

A friend who follows US politics very closely gave me his best guess as to how 2008 will play out.  Gore beats Hilary (and Kerry, Edwards, Bayh, Warner, etc) to win the Democratic primary. McCain easily wins the Republican primary. McCain elected president. … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 20 Comments

Things you think of when waiting for a flight….

Every major city in Ohio (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Canton) starts with a C. Is there some story behind this?

Posted in Travel | 3 Comments

Land of the Free (Wi-fi)

There are probably hotels in Australia that offer free wireless broadband to their customers. If so, I’ve never stayed in one. By contrast, I haven’t been able to find a hotel in the US that doesn’t offer wi-fi. Even the … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations, Travel | 16 Comments

If you liked "Mates", you'll like….

For anyone interested in the history of the Wran government, my friend Troy Bramston is running a public forum, flowing out of his recent edited book. It’ll be held in Gymea on August 6. Details over the fold.

Posted in Australian Politics

From Arkansas to Mississippi

We started our Arkansas day with (what else) a visit to Bill Clinton’s presidential museum in Little Rock. It’s located in an area of the town that had become pretty run down, and the architecture of the place is quite innovative, … Continue reading

Posted in Travel | 1 Comment

Alabama to Mississippi

When we were on our way to catch our flight to Birmingham, Alabama, Gweneth and I got chatting with two local women on their way back. Them: Why would you want to go there? Us: For sightseeing. Them: Really? Us: … Continue reading

Posted in Travel | 1 Comment

Flightless birds and long white clouds

The New Zealand Institute has just released a paper entitled The flight of the Kiwi: Going global from the end of the world (PDF). A snippet: Achieving much improved levels of exporting and outward FDI will require meaningful action from both … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment

What I've been reading

Since I’m presently travelling, I haven’t felt sufficiently up with the commentariat to offer any new thoughts on Lebanon, the Costello dummy spit, or why Casey Donovan has been dropped by her recording label. However, I just finished one of the … Continue reading

Posted in Low Wage Work, What I'm Reading | 38 Comments

Liberté to Choose

I posted the other day on the surprising number of flags in the streets of Germany. We’ve been in Paris for the past few days (I’m currently surfing off the Sorbonne’s wireless network), and the surprising thing here is that there’s not … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Travel, Universities | 2 Comments

Death or taxes?

Commenting on my paper with Joshua Gans on death and taxes, my ANU colleague Martin Richardson draws my attention to a very entertaining 1999 piece by Slate’s David Plotz, which asks the question – does taxing death discourage it?

Posted in Tax | 2 Comments

On wets and drys

It’s often alleged that water privatization hurts the poor. I have to confess that this was also my prior. But perhaps we should think again, since the best study on the topic finds exactly the opposite. Water for Life: The Impact … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 6 Comments

Latitude, Longitude, and Letterman

Last year, University of Texas Austin economist Dan Hamermesh came to Australia for a celebration of Bob Gregory’s career. There, he gave a paper entitled The Value of Peripatetic Economists: A Sesqui-Difference Evaluation of Bob Gregory. The paper looked at valuing … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 5 Comments

Vice & Virtue

I’ve been asked to review a book on tax minimisation, by ANU’s John Braithwaite. A draft of my review is over the fold. Comments and suggestions most welcome (the final version is due in a week).

Posted in Law, Tax | 4 Comments

No Stopping

One of the cleverer economic paper ideas I’ve seen recently. Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel Corruption is believed to be a major factor impeding economic development, but the importance of legal enforcement … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 4 Comments

An economic case for more public holidays

I have a short oped in the AFR today, arguing that Australia needs more public holidays. The piece was inspired by a conversation with my friend Chris Fry. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Economics Generally | 5 Comments

Young Parent Forums

Daniel Donahoo, an OzProspect fellow, has been writing a lot about parenting over recent years. Now, he’s also doing some interesting activist work. NSW Young Parents Forum Series  OzProspect, in partnership with the NSW Department of Community Services and Copeland … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 1 Comment

The rise of German nationalism

We’re in Coburg, Germany, visting friends for a few days. I was in Germany during the 2002 World Cup, and vividly remember that in the streets of Berlin there were more Turkish flags after a Turkish victory than there were German … Continue reading

Posted in Travel | 2 Comments

Maoism, Taoism, Eating and Chess

Just wrapped up our final day in Beijing. Here are three things that should have been obvious to me before arriving, but somehow, weren’t. When eavesdropping on two people speaking a tonal language, it’s really hard to tell when they’re angry/sad/happy. The classic … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Beijing Byline

Well, it seems my blog hasn’t yet been banned by the Chinese authorities. Highlights of Beijing so far: funky modern art in the backblocks, Beijing duck (42% fat), CCTV propaganda, skyscrapers going up everywhere, silk markets (their starting price=15*purchase price). … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 2 Comments