Monthly Archives: May 2007

Why a Fat Food Tax Won't Make us Thin

A new paper shows that food prices affect obesity – but the impact is so small that even huge taxes won’t have more than a tiny impact on BMI. Cheap Donuts and Expensive Broccoli: The Effect of Relative Prices on Obesity … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Strange Days are These

Joshua Gans and I have written an article for the Melbourne Review (Melbourne Business School’s glossy magazine), summing up our half-dozen papers on unusual days in births and deaths. It’s received a bit of media coverage, which Joshua coyly posts.

Posted in Economics of the Family | 3 Comments

Martin Luther's Legacy

I’ve always found the studies that look at the effect of religion on economic growth a bit fluffy. But this very clever paper goes far further than previous work in explaining why Protestant countries and regions might grow faster. If … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, From the Frontiers | 6 Comments

Starting Early

On June 20, I’m speaking at an event at Melbourne Business School on early childhood intervention, along with Frank Oberklaid, Sue Richardson, and Ross Homel. Details over the fold.

Posted in Coming Events, Economics of Education | 1 Comment

Deeply Rooted

One of the many joys of being married to someone who understands horticulture is her ability to notice when ‘experts’ are talking mulch. Here’s McGill University science ethicist Margaret Somerville on the 7.30 Report last night. You see I think the … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 3 Comments

The RPG Buyback

Perhaps Christine Neill and I should extend our gun buyback study to look at another country. From CNN: Yemen has spent millions of dollars in recent months buying up bombs, artillery, even anti-aircraft guns, from ordinary civilians as part of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 3 Comments

Cut class, cut grade

Extraordinary as it may sound, attending lectures can help you learn more – at least when it comes to economics at the University of Wollongong. The Impact of Lecture Attendance on Academic Performance in a  Large First Year Economics Course … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Universities | 5 Comments

There are no kangaroos in Austria…

…and now no emus in Germany, either. Dummkopfen.

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 3 Comments

Comrade Costello?

Regular reader John Hannoush notes the oddity of Peter Costello’s regular boast that he’s “running a trillion dollar economy”. Did we all miss the transition from market to planned economy?

Posted in Australian Politics | 7 Comments

Big taxee, no workee

Now here’s a paper whose conclusions should make John Howard and Ross Gittins both nod their heads. Labour Taxes and Work Hours in Australia Anton Hallam & Ernst Weber In the 1970s, work hours in Europe were similar to work hours … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 18 Comments

ANU RSSS Seminars in May & June

The ANU RSSS economics seminar schedule for May-June is over the fold. All seminars are held in the Coombs Building at ANU.

Posted in Coming Events

Indigenous Crime Event Next Monday

Just a quick reminder about the ANU Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Indigenous Crime event scheduled for next Monday afternoon (details here). And to whet your appetite, here’s a recent paper co-authored by one of the speakers, Boyd Hunter. The economic and … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events, Indigenous Policy | 1 Comment

Is there a doctor in the house?

My research group – the Economics Program in the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU – are looking for more PhD students. It’s a great place to do a PhD, since the academics tend to have relatively light classroom teaching … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Universities

Half full or half empty?

Having written last week about media slant, I enjoyed the juxtaposition in the headlines reporting my teacher effectiveness study this morning. Best teachers push up pupils’ scores, The Age Study confirms poor teaching drags down kids, The Australian A bit more … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 8 Comments

Measuring Teacher Effectiveness

I have a new paper on teacher effectiveness out today. So far as I know, it’s the first ‘value-added’ study to be conducted outside the United States. Estimating Teacher Effectiveness From Two-Year Changes in Students’ Test Scores Using a dataset … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 46 Comments

Job Training Program, Meet Randomised Trial

There’s a reason policymakers do so few randomised evaluations of job training programs: they tend to show that the programs don’t work very well. The Labor Market Impacts of Youth Training in the Dominican Republic: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation David … Continue reading

Posted in Low Wage Work | 10 Comments

A Tale of Two Elections

As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m not a big fan of polls as election forecasting tools. But these ones do tell an interesting story – one that I expect will cause my Labor friends to smile, and … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 8 Comments

Do you like your newsprint right-justified or left-justified?

My AFR column this month is on the economics of media bias. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Economics Generally | 21 Comments

The Milk Shortage

Once upon a time, there was a government that thought that milk was very important to human dignity. So they decided that milk should be very cheap, and ordered that it be sold for no more than 10 cents per … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Environmental Economics | 22 Comments

Indigenous Violence & Crime

I’m running an event on Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Indigenous Crime on 28 May (details here). So it’s timely that the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday released a series of statistics on Indigenous Australians’ exposure to crime and the justice system. … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous Policy | 5 Comments

Lowy Shops for a Researcher

The Lowy Institute for International Policy is advertising for a research assistant. Details over the fold.

Posted in Trade & Development

Who are the great Australian sociologists?

I’ve been thinking a bit about sociology lately, partly because I’ve always thought it’s a fascinating discipline (Tally’s Corner, Rituals of Blood and No Shame in My Game are three of my favourite non-fiction books ever), and partly prompted by Mark … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 16 Comments

Mapping Indigenous Australia

The Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, edited by Bill Arthur and Frances Morphy from ANU’s CAEPR, has just gone online. You can select a variety of overlays, including Indigenous social indicators, historical data, etc. Fun for the whole (map-loving) family. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What Unions Do

A new paper on US union wage effects finds that they’re much bigger at the bottom of the earnings distribution. New estimates of union wage effects in the U.S Maury Gittleman and Brooks Pierce Economics Letters We present new estimates for … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Inequality | 2 Comments

The Ec 10 view of the world

He’s a Republican, but a damn smart one. Greg Mankiw’s blog is one of my regular reads. This week, don’t miss: Why the Harvard administration’s promises to raise the quality of instruction are probably just hot air. Why higher returns to education … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 18 Comments

Rudd Redux

Kevin Rudd this week announced a $69 million National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools Program to promote the study of languages such as Japanese, Indonesian, Mandarin and Korean in high schools. What he omitted to mention was that … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 3 Comments

A PhD in Red Tape

I’m still working through the details of Julie Bishop’s plan to reduce the red-tape burden for universities, but an interview in the SMH today, John Garnaut and David Crawshaw discover that it involves asking the states to hand over control of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Universities | 11 Comments

The New Nationalisers?

I was chatting with my colleague Bob Gregory about the budget today. Speaking with Bob is wonderful, since he always has something to say that’s a bit different from the punditry. This morning, he said “You know, it’s interesting. The … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 10 Comments

The residents of [MailmergeField] are our highest priority

It doesn’t quite qualify as a cliche, but in browsing the budget documents, I did get a chuckle from the Department of Defence’s 33 identical media releases targeted at individual seats, all of which take the form: The strong Defence … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics

The budget that brings home the median voter?

Sometimes political science can feel a bit removed from the reality of politics. But in election years, it’s good to be reminded that the median voter theorem really does hold. The further behind a government thinks it is, the more … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics of Education, Tax | 9 Comments