Monthly Archives: September 2005

Polished Pollies

Anyone who doubts the eloquence of America’s politicians should read the transcript of day one of John Roberts’ confirmation hearings in the US Senate. Some of Australia’s federal politicians are just as verbally adept, but not many.

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Slick Politics

Rather than fretting about why oil prices rise when oil supply falls, perhaps our politicians could turn their mind to thinking about why water prices don’t rise (or don’t rise enough) when the supply of water falls.

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Who Cares About Inequality?

In a recent report, the OECD brings together a lot of evidence on inequality across developed nations. But perhaps the neatest graph (extracted to the left) is one that shows that concerns about inequality are essentially unrelated to levels of … Continue reading

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Missing Children

UCLA’s Seema Jayachandran (disclosure: friend) has taken a novel approach to estimating the impact of the air pollution caused by forest fires in Indonesia in 1997. In a recent paper, she uses regional variation to look for so-called "missing children" … Continue reading

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Stocks and Flows

Today’s SMH editorial on HECS bemoans the rise in HECS debt. "Debt owed by students under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme is growing. More ominously, less of it looks likely to be repaid. In 1995-96, only 17 per cent of … Continue reading

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Reading Oped Pages Can Take Its Toll Too

Apparently Paul Sheehan thinks the cross-city tunnel’s fare is too high. He does not, however, offer any evidence for this belief.

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Iraqi Indicators

Michael O’Hanlon and coauthors present the latest update of their State of Iraq report in the NYT. Table and summary below. There is, as always, some good news. The government has made progress on managing inflation, rewriting banking laws and … Continue reading

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Jobs Jobs Everywhere?

I put out a policy report yesterday, arguing that despite the ACT’s low unemployment rate, we should nonetheless be worried about the number of Canberrans (particularly low-skilled workers) without a job. This is particularly the case for families with children. … Continue reading

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Donald Horne

One of Australia’s great public intellectuals, Donald Horne, has just passed away, aged 83. His expansive notion of what it meant to be Australian, and the importance of our country living up to its potential, was one of the inspirations … Continue reading

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Linux for Labor?

Following the rise of Linux and Wikipedia, there have been occasional suggestions that the open source movement should be applied to policymaking too. After all, if open sourcers are setting about creating a better recipe for coke and beer, surely … Continue reading

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IV Dam Spot

One of the biggest questions in development policy is the funding of dams. I’ve always been more pro-dams than most of my progressive friends, figuring that the huge health benefits of clean water and more efficient agriculture would often outweigh … Continue reading

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Twofer

In a surprising play, UoW academic Sharon Beder today has the same oped in both the Canberra Times and the SMH.

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XX > XY

Today’s NYT carries an interesting piece by Warren Farrell on the complexities of estimating the gender pay gap, including this surprising stat. Women who have never been married and are childless earn 117 percent of their childless male counterparts. (This … Continue reading

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Landscape Lines

My wife Gweneth is a landscape architect, so I rather like collecting lines about her profession. "Architects do the buildings. Landscape architects do everything else." "Landscape wears in the consciousness better than everything else." I’m told the second is from … Continue reading

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It's Your Money (Not)

In today’s Canberra Times (article not online, sorry), commentator Paddy Gourley quotes Malcolm Turnbull MP justifying the use of public funds to run a campaign in favour of changing industrial relations laws: The Government is elected to represent the people … Continue reading

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Vale the Chief

Following the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist* yesterday, the a friend just emailed to say that the Republicans appear to be inclined to freeze nomination hearings on John Roberts. Why stop when the hearings seem to be going well for … Continue reading

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Dealing with Water II

Like most others, no doubt, Gweneth and I have been closely following the news from New Orleans. Being American, she’s been more strongly affected by it than me, a pattern we’ve also seen in catching up with a few other … Continue reading

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Dealing with Water I

I argued in the SMH in March ago that raising the water price (and compensating low income earners) was a smarter strategy than using water restrictions. Based on a meta-analysis by Dutch researcher Jasper Dalhuisen and his co-authors (PDF), I … Continue reading

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Googling the Earth

At risk of having you quickly lose an hour of your life, anyone with broadband and Google Earth installed should definitely skip through on the forums at bbs.keyhole.com.

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Ain't Nothin Bigger 'n Taxes

Craig Emerson has recently released a Progressive Essay, arguing against cutting the top marginal tax rate (47%), and instead cutting out the 42% tax rate. I find his arguments against cutting the 47% rate pretty convincing, but I’m less enamoured … Continue reading

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The $1000 per week tax cut

I’m sure Malcolm Turnbull isn’t pushing for a cut in the top marginal tax rate to line his own pockets, but his campaign would be a smidgin more persuasive if it didn’t have precisely that effect. According to Sauce, Turnbull’s … Continue reading

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