Monthly Archives: April 2007

Testing the trickle-down theory

Next Tuesday, 8 May, I’ll be presenting a seminar on ‘Top Incomes and Growth’ in the ANU RSPAS seminar series. It’ll be in Seminar Room B of the HC Coombs Building, and will run from 2.00-3.30pm. The work is all … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events, Inequality | 6 Comments

The grass is greener

Labor’s HECS-for-watertanks plan has drawn some bouquets and brickbats in today’s press (it seems that if you talk about money and water, you can’t help but get media coverage). But I couldn’t help noticing that two of my fellow Ozeconbloggers … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Environmental Economics | 5 Comments

Bedding down in the green room

Film magnate Jack Valenti’s death last week reminded me of a story that former Trade Minister Peter Cook once told me. During the negotiations on the Uruguay Round of WTO talks in the early-1990s, the US brought in Valenti for … Continue reading

Posted in Trade & Development

Go Directly to Jail, Pay $200

The NYT reveals that in California, you can pay to go to a ‘nice’ jail. For offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 15 Comments

Australian Competition for DC scholarship (AC/DC)

The Woodrow Wilson Center is offering a $5000/month stipend to host Australian scholars for 2-4 months in their Washington DC offices. Here’s who they’re looking for: This competition is open to men and women currently residing in Australia, or of … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 2 Comments

Law and economics, at $150 per hour

It’s always puzzled me that law and economics is done so little in Australia, so it’s great to see my colleagues at the ANU Centre for Law and Economics organising a conference on the topic in Canberra on 1-2 June. … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events, Economics Generally | 7 Comments

Saving the forests, one leaflet at a time

Our ‘no junk mail’ sticker tends to stop most unsolicited mail, but occasionally someone ignores it. In a neat irony, I opened the mailbox today to discover a leaflet from the Greens’ candidate for the Senate, Kerrie Tucker.

Posted in Australian Politics, Environmental Economics | 9 Comments

Levitt Strikes Back

Steven Levitt is one of the most genteel members of the economics profession, so it requires quite some provocation to get him going. But an article in the New Republic by Noam Scheiber suggesting that Levitt is ‘ruining’ economics seems … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 9 Comments

Elections and the Ecological Fallacy, Part II

Every now and then, people try to learn something about individual voting patterns by looking at regional voting patterns. Given that we have post-election surveys, this approach has always puzzled me. More worryingly, it’s plagued by the ‘ecological fallacy': aggregating things … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 4 Comments

Mr Ed Opens the Gates

Eli Broad and Bill Gates plan to spend $60 million on moving schools up the US political agenda. Here’s what the NYT has to say about it. Under the slogan “Ed in ’08,” the project, called Strong American Schools, will … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | 2 Comments

A good idea, in theory

The National University of Singapore will be holding its first economic theory workshop on 16-17 August. Details over the fold.

Posted in Coming Events

Why the world doesn't look up to Americans any more

Anthropometric history – the study of heights – somehow fascinates me. One of the most interesting findings in this field is that relative to Europeans, Americans are getting shorter. Underperformance in Affluence: The Remarkable Relative Decline in U.S. Heights in the Second … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 9 Comments

What the gun buyback cost

In my post on Sunday, I used the figure of $500 million for the cost of the Australian gun buyback, but you might argue that it was a bit cheaper than that, as the Gun Control Australia website explains: There … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Gun ownership statistics

For anyone interested in rates of gun ownership in Australia and other developed countries, this document has a useful table. The ICVS figures suggest that the share of Australian households owning guns fell from 17.6% in 1992 to 10.0% in … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 9 Comments

Weak Tests and Strong Conclusions

Christine Neill and I have a paper out today, re-analysing a much-publicised 2006 study on the effect of the gun buyback on gun deaths. The original paper – by Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran – isn’t available online. But here’s … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 107 Comments

ANU RSSS Economics Seminars

The ANU RSSS economics seminar schedule for April-May 2007 is over the fold. Seminars are held in the HC Coombs Building. All welcome.

Posted in Coming Events

Blowing the whistle on refereeing

Having written 4 referee reports this week, and 7 over the last month (Review of Economics and Statistics, China Economic Review, Journal of Socio-Economics, Economic Papers, European Journal of Political Economy, BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, Australian Journal of Political … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 10 Comments

Tournez à gauche

The first round of the French Presidential election is this Sunday. Is it just me, or do the parties on this ballot list remind anyone else of their university student council elections? Olivier Besancenot – Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue communiste … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 6 Comments

Untaxed carbon forever?

My friend Dennis Glover, a former historian and speechwriter, has an op-ed in today’s Australian, comparing the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s response to climate change with the Luddites’ response to the industrial revolution. But the comparison isn’t as … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality | 5 Comments

CEOs: What they Earn, Where they Live

I’m told the Fairfax printers’ strike didn’t affect most cities. My oped is over the fold.

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

Paper Cut

I have a piece on the oped page of today’s AFR. Or at least, I think I do. In Canberra, a printer’s strike has meant that today’s the AFR hasn’t been delivered. And I’m wondering whether that also applies to … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 1 Comment

The economics of marriage and divorce

In his Economic Scene column in today’s New York Times, Tyler Cowen writes up the research agenda of Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, two friends of mine who have penned a series of papers on the economics of marriage and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 1 Comment

Hurricane Economics

I’ve been waiting for applied empirical economists to start looking at the Hurricane Katrina ‘natural experiment’. Here’s one of the first papers, from Jacob Vigdor, who works on neighbourhood effects. The Katrina Effect: Was There a Bright Side to the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally

Melbourne Goes American

Andrew Norton and Paul Frijters have offered contrasting views on the radical reforms to Melbourne University being spearheaded by its Vice-Chancellor, Glyn Davis. Like Andrew, I’m optimistic that the Melbourne Model will succeed, but I think it’s more important to recognise … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 5 Comments

Gun violence

As awful as the VT shooting is (and it is awful), it’s worth remembering that on an average day in America, there are 27 gun homicides and 46 gun suicides, and that rates of violent crime in the US are … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 3 Comments

Another Virginia Shooting

Like everyone else, I suppose, I’ve been reading with horror the news of the shooting at Virginia Tech. It’s my wife’s grandfather’s alma mater, and somehow that distant connection makes it feel even more real. My condolences for the families of … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 10 Comments

Pareto Improving Performance Pay

Unless I’m misreading her, Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop appears to have taken the view that it’s possible to move to merit pay without raising average pay. Politically, I can’t see how this is workable. All the merit pay schemes … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 12 Comments

Fair Merit Pay Schemes, Part IV

From the latest issue of the Journal of Public Economics.  Individual teacher incentives and student performance David N. Figlio and Lawrence W. Kenny This paper is the first to systematically document the relationship between individual teacher performance incentives and student … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 3 Comments

Poll ca change

I’ve been banging on for a while about the fact that margins of error are particularly important when papers are reporting on changes in voteshare. Putting some empirical grunt behind the argument, Simon Jackman has a fascinating graph showing the poll sample … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 1 Comment

KP on teacher performance

Ken Parish has a very thoughtful post on trends in literacy and numeracy standards, merit pay, and the teacher quality debate. I don’t agree with much of it, but the best one can hope for in the blogosphere is to have … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Economics of Education