Monthly Archives: October 2005

New Public Holiday, Anyone?

To mark the tax filing deadline, I have an oped in the Canberra Times, arguing that the federal government could quite simply exempt most taxpayers from the need to file a return, without needing to tinker with rates or deductions. … Continue reading

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Wake Up Jack

One of the winners of this year’s IgNobel prizes (for research that should not be replicated) is an invention called "Clocky". From the website: Clocky is an alarm clock in development for people who have trouble getting out of bed. … Continue reading

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Get a Job

In the third of a trio of thought-provoking posts over the weekend, Andrew Norton draws our attention to Michelle Grattan’s analysis of the previous occupation of members of parliament. Like me, Andrew is a former staffer who worries about the … Continue reading

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Happiness and GDP – the story continues

Is the relationship between happiness and GDP non-linear? That’s been the contention of many in the anti-growth crowd. But it depends how you draw the graph. To the left, I’ve shown two graphs – one of GDP versus life satisfaction, … Continue reading

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Götterdämmerung

Testable proposition of the day: That marking essays while listening to Wagner leads to a wider grade distribution.

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Boomerang Awards

Australian researchers currently working overseas may be interested in applying for one of Sydney University’s Return Awards for Expatriate Researchers. Details over the fold.

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Whatever makes you happy

My colleague Paul Frijters presented the annual Fred Gruen lecture last night. I never knew Fred Gruen, but he was a powerhouse in the ANU’s research school, and is one of those who firmly believed that economics should always strive … Continue reading

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Ad Blocker

I have an oped in the Canberra Times today, arguing that most government advertising – not just the WorkChoices ads – would fail a robust cost-benefit test. Update: Andrew Norton takes umbrage at my sideswipe at conservative think-tanks. * The … Continue reading

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Putting the telli back into intelligent design

For the satirising that "intelligent" design so richly deserves, check out the New Yorker and the new Guinness ad.

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Teacher Work, Teacher Pay

NSW teachers just won a substantial pay rise: The 12 per cent increase over three years will lift the salary of a beginning teacher to $50,522 by January 2008. Classroom teachers will be paid $75,352 and high school principals $129,506. … Continue reading

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What I've Been Reading

A friend recently gave me a handful of Penguin 70s – little 50-page Penguin books produced to mark Penguin Publishing’s 70th birthday. I particularly enjoyed three of them: Gustave Flaubert’s The Desert and the Dancing Girls is a hedonistic portrayal … Continue reading

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If work were so pleasant, the rich would keep it for themselves

Three of my ANU colleagues point out that if you cut the taxes of high income earners, they’ll work more. So the estimated income changes flowing from the 2005 tax cuts put around by myself (for households) and the government … Continue reading

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The first shall be first

Gilles Serra, a mate of mine at Harvard, had a theory that if you sat at a dinner party with a bunch of Harvard students, and asked everyone at the table where they were in the birth order (excluding the … Continue reading

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Suicidal Tendencies

The SMH must be flying close to the Press Council guidelines on suicide with its reporting today on goth-suicides. The Council believes that most papers are aware of the desirability of treating suicide with restraint, and of avoiding: Adding to … Continue reading

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How Wal-Mart Helps the Poor

Before campaigning to shut down Wal-Mart for paying low wages, progressives might remember that poor people are buyers as well as workers. From the latest issue of the Journal of Urban Economics (the link is to the working paper version): … Continue reading

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The benefits of not breaking up Microsoft

A superb profile of Bill Gates in the New Yorker this week contains a rather provocative suggestion: perhaps Gates matters more to solving the world’s problem than the World Health Organization? The piece isn’t online, only an accompanying slideshow.

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The race that stops a nation (but not its parliament)

In a stroke of policial genius, the Federal Government has decided to introducing its new anti-terrorism, pro-gay laws on Melbourne Cup Day.* Of course, if Thousand Veils, Desert War and Hollow Bullet take the trifecta, this may not turn out … Continue reading

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BB05

New Economist has a full rundown of what the old and new media have to say about Ben Bernanke’s selection as the new Fed Chairman (aka America’s second most powerful man). I’d be more comforted if he knew how to … Continue reading

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Free Books

As an author, I’m firmly in the pro-Google camp (or as Slate’s Tim Wu puts it, more in favour of authorial exposure rather than authorial control). In a country where our books are too expensive, I’d always prefer to get … Continue reading

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Trust Me, I'm a Politician

Gerard Henderson thinks our politicians are in very good standing, and distrust is all in the vivid imaginations of our politicians. I beg to differ.

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The bookies give this one a flying start

Tyler Cohen points us to Tradesports’ market for bird flu (click on "Current Events", then "Bird Flu"). Bird Flu to be confirmed in the U.S BIRDFLU.USA.31DEC05Bird flu to be confirmed in the USA ON/BEFORE 31st December 2005 M 36.0 39.8 … Continue reading

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Books By the Lake

JM Coetzee, the first man to win the Booker twice, spoke at the National Library of Australia yesterday. Once we got past a ponderous introduction from Australian Book Review editor Peter Rose, Coetzee’s melifluous tones made it a very pleasant … Continue reading

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Rampaging Roy

John Doyle (aka Rampaging Roy Slaven) gave the 10th Andrew Olle Media Lecture on 7 October. Somehow I’d missed seeing any coverage of it, but the transcript generously repays reading. Here’s John getting stuck into commercial radio: Commercial radio now: … Continue reading

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Is the Right Funnier Than the Left?

Malcolm Farr has kicked off a discussion (see Tims Dunlop and Blair for more) on whether the left is funnier than the right. Over in the US, they’ve been worrying about this for a while now, but Al Franken, Maureen … Continue reading

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Miered

According to Tradesports, Harriet Miers is now only about a 30% chance to join the black-robed folks on First Street.

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Chaste it Ain't

I saw Cirque Du Chaser on Saturday night, and loved it. Almost none of the Chaser guys have a natural stage presence, but their scripts are razor sharp, and the energy is palpable. Which, oddly, is the reverse of what … Continue reading

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Kiddie Safe II

I have an article on child safety seats in today’s AFR, writing up the Levitt paper I mentioned on the blog last month. With some Australian states apparently considering a law change to make child safety seats compulsory for under-sixes, … Continue reading

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Why did the ANU duck cross the road?

One of the many things I love about ANU is that you’re among nature. My window looks out over Black Mountain, I cycle to work each morning past rosellas and magpies (dive-bombing ones, at this time of year), and the … Continue reading

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Imagining Australia by the Numbers

Having been blogging for a little over a year now (my first posting was on 11 July 2004, and my Imagining Australia coauthors dropped off not long after that), I decided I’d check on the site stats. Posts: 502Words: 231,778Average … Continue reading

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To Market, To Market

A friend of mine on secondment from the Australian Treasury to the Solomon Islands ministry of finance just sent this through. I just got back from 3 days in Choiseul, the north-westernmost island of SI (I could look out from … Continue reading

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