Monthly Archives: August 2005

The Keating Camp Responds

Following John Lyons’ dump on Paul Keating in the Bulletin last week, Mark Ryan has responded on behalf of the PJK camp: Casual readers of John Lyons’ article on Paul Keating might not recognise it, but those of us familiar … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Would an Intelligent Designer Create the Intelligent Designers?

Daniel Dennett has a beaut piece in the NYT debunking the latest evolution of the creationist movement, the notion of so-called "intelligent design". Full text over the fold.

Posted in Uncategorized

Should the ACCC Break up the NSW Right?

There’s a bit of a debate now in the Labor Party over whether factions have any ideological ties, or are merely competing executive placement agencies. Frequently, factions have broken into fractions – sub-units which are even less likely to be … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 3 Comments

When Rational Students Choose Not to Study Rational Models

A puzzle in recent years has been the decision of so many Australian undergraduates to flock to business degrees in favour of economics degrees (one quarter of undergraduates are now studying business). This is despite Australian research by the University … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The Day "Yes, but" Became "No"

A colleague points out the oddity of the current dispute between economic modellers NATSEM and the federal government. NATSEM have shown that the changes announced in the budget will reduce payments to single parents. The government’s response is "no, if … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Equality of Opportunity Starts Early

A neat rundown on new initiatives for universal pre-kindergarten, put together by the Democratic Leadership Council/Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington DC thinktank that’s on the rightish-side-of-the-left. Children who attend high-quality preschool programs that prepare them to read and build cognitive, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Not Child's Play

Calls to prevent imports of product made with child labour often assume that a ban is the best way of reducing the incidence of child labour. But a new paper by Dirk Krueger (U.Penn) and Jessica Donohue (State St Associates) … Continue reading

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Just for a Laff

Sinclair Davidson has written a CIS policy brief arguing that Australians pay too much tax. On its face, this is about as surprising as Richard Neville telling us that George Bush isn’t his favourite President. But Sinclair also throws in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Chained to the Desk

A new economics paper by Dan Hamermesh (UT Austin, and the doyen of beauty research) and Joel Slemrod (U Michigan) is entitled The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper (PDF). In case you’re too busy … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The Squiggly Blue Line

Forbes Global CEOs secure, Tony Abbott insecure. Is it that globophobes are more dangerous than unionists, or that Manning Bar is scarier than the Opera House?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No Great Leap for Joy

My father, currently visiting China, tells me that this blog is on a banned list. I wonder what I did to offend?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2WD Good, 4WD Bad

According to a new survey: More than 77 per cent of four-wheel-drive vehicle owners in NSW believe there is a backlash against them, a survey has found, and almost 20 per cent say other drivers have become more negative towards … Continue reading

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Child Labour

From a recent World Bank research paper on child labour: Although there is extensive literature on the determinants of  child labor and many initiatives aimed at combating it, there is  limited evidence on the consequences of child labor on  socioeconomic … Continue reading

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School Fees in Reverse

With Indigenous educational levels far below non-Indigenous levels, why don’t we consider paying Indigenous children a daily allowance to attend school? Keeping people in school until they reach 15 or 16 raises their lifetime earnings, but according to one report, … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues | 1 Comment

Statist Musings

I flew back in to Canberra last week on Qantas, landed and withdrew some cash from my Commonwealth Bank account, and made a Telstra phonecall. Odd to think that 15 years ago all these would have been transactions with the … Continue reading

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Don't Leave!

I mentioned on the blog a little while ago that Chris Ryan and I had written a paper on the effect of minimum school leaving ages on earnings. I wrote it up for the SMH today. They published a rather … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

E-Racism DownUnder

My interest piqued by the extremist-monitoring work of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the US, I went for a squiz on Google Australia, looking for racial epithets, neo-Nazi phrases, and the famously fake "Protocols of the Learned Elders of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Social Capital Scholarship

In case it’s of interest to people considering doing academic work on social capital, I presented in Brisbane on Wednesday a bird’s eye summary of social capital scholarship in Australia (PDF). I ended up concluding that some themes seem pretty … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


From coats and gloves in Canberra on Wednesday morning to sitting by the pool sipping wine in a T-shirt and shorts in Brisbane on the same afternoon. Gotta love the weather in the Sunshine State. Still, the place ain’t perfect. … Continue reading

Posted in Australian issues

Locked Up One Day, Key Thrown Away the Next

Apparently one of the things that the Queensland Government does best is keeping paedophiles behind bars. Under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (Qld), prisoners can be detained until the parole board is satisfied that they are not a … Continue reading

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PhD for Prod

Good luck to Brisbane blogger Mark Bahnisch (of Larvartus Prodeo) for his PhD defence on Monday. You can drop him a note at Whoops: Mark now tells me it’s been postponed until Oct or Nov.

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McHugh J

This speech last night by Justice McHugh is a reminder that he’s still one of the smartest people in the country.

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BrisVegas Bound

I’ll be in Brisbane on Wed and Thu, speaking on "the state of social capital scholarship" at the International Conference on Engaging Communities on Wednesday morning (apparently the conference is even being webcast), and then talking separately at the IPAA, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


How well did the betting market pick the Logan twins as the eventual BB05 winner? The answer is that it depends when you checked them. In May, not long after the markets opened, the Logans were favourite. But in June, … Continue reading

Posted in Television | 1 Comment

Sheehan Watch, Pt 4

Paul Sheehan today calls for mothers to have children earlier (and goes close to advocating more teen pregnancy). He seems oblivious of research showing that the outcomes for children tend to be substantially worse when their mothers are younger – … Continue reading

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Happy Days Downunder

I mentioned last month that Justin Wolfers and I had written a research paper arguing that, contrary to the findings of David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, Australians are actually one of the happiest nations around. We wrote the piece up … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Stuff Happens

Just returned from seeing the Company B production of David Hare’s play Stuff Happens, at Sydney’s Seymour Centre (showing until 21 Aug, then coming to Melb on 24 Aug). The play is about Iraq, and takes a reasonable shot at … Continue reading

Posted in Iraq | 2 Comments

Why Economists Don't Write Books

There is, I admit, something odd about a profession in which the standing of books has been steadily declining ever since a bloke called Smith banged out The Wealth of Nations. Today, most economists rarely publish books. Instead, Nobel laureates … Continue reading

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The White Stuff

I love being back in Australia, but one of the things I miss about Boston is the snow – the tinge of it on your face, the sharp smell of the air when it’s about to snow, and the squeaky … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Backbench Problems

A bunch of young Aussie globetrotters have just started something called the Backbench World Problems Index. In their words: The BWPI is designed specifically to measure coverage of world problems in selected Australian newspapers. The index covers five world problems … Continue reading

Posted in Global issues | 7 Comments