Monthly Archives: November 2005

Amazon sells stolen goods

My wife Gweneth presented a paper at a conference on water management back in 2003. She was somewhat surprised to discover the other day that it’s now available for sale on Amazon. And no, she didn’t sign over the copyright. … Continue reading

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Potentially Topical

Any econometrically-inclined honours student out there looking for an interesting political science/political economy paper? I have an idea or two, so feel free to drop me an email. My price is pretty low – if it works out, coauthorship.

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Cheap talk

We’ve tweaked it a bit recently, so the ANU RSSS economics seminar schedule for the rest of the year appears below. The seminars are held in the Coombs building, and visitors are always welcome.

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The deskbar to end all deskbars

For anyone looking for the deskbar that will search anything and everything, check out Nigel Tao’s Deskbar Applet (he’s an ANU student, so we’re naturally very proud).

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The bump in the middle of the road

Self-confessed news junkie Paul Knapp emailed me today to tell me about NewsBump,* a site he’s created that allows people to move stories up and down, according to whether they like them. Like Google News Australia, but with voting. But … Continue reading

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They're not playing strip poker in Doha

Paul Samuelson once described comparative advantage as the best example of a “true and non-trivial proposition” in the social sciences. An interview with Senator Barnaby Joyce in the FT (online when hell freezes over) is a neat reminder of the … Continue reading

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Who's in the corner office?

The New York Times shows what you can do when you’re prepared to take a week pulling together some interesting statistics. In a piece on diversity, it looks at the extent to which the representation of women, racial minorities, and … Continue reading

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It's the principal of the thing

How good are various measures of teacher quality? According to Brian Jacob & Lars Lefgren, the ranking is: (1) value-added measures, (2) principal assessment, (3) teacher experience and education. Principals as Agents: Subjective Performance Measures in EducationIn this paper, we … Continue reading

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The Boyer Sermons

Last Saturday, Michael Duffy castigated Peter Jensen for using the Boyer lectures as a forum to proselytise. Regretfully, I tend to agree. After a wide-ranging first lecture, the second and third could almost be warmed-over sermons. Indeed, PJ seems to … Continue reading

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Just an Act

The ACT Human Rights Act 2004 has excited a lot of interest among those in favour of bills of rights (among whose number I count myself). There has already been a conference held on the Act, and now a website … Continue reading

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Cashing Out

Should we have a big debate about executive pay? Ross Gittins thinks so. Fred Argy thinks so too. Australian Financial Review, Letters, 25 November 2005 Executive remuneration has become a very sensitive issue in the present industrial relations climate and … Continue reading

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How a (dollar) bill becomes a law

The US is finally starting to recognise that its bills-for-favours system isn’t just "like bribery" – it is bribery. Reforming the system while keeping the famously independent role of Congresspeople and Senators isn’t a trivial problem, but it’s gotta happen. … Continue reading

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Doan be ribbin da ribbon

I’m wearing a white ribbon on my suit today, as part of the anti-domestic violence campaign. About this time last year, a CIS-funded visitor attacked the wearing of ribbons as what he called conspicuous compassion. Paul Comrie-Thomson argued that: "for … Continue reading

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Confession, anyone?

Roy Morgan’s annual survey of attitudes to professions is out today. The big news that people are focusing on is the apparent drop in trust in politicians. I gave my $0.02 on this last year, so am more interested in … Continue reading

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As someone with non-standard bookbuying tastes, I’m a big fan of buying books through the Internet. But I’m constantly amazed at the number of books that simply aren’t available through Australian online booksellers. Admittedly, the market isn’t as hopeless as … Continue reading

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If you see something (worth reading), say something

The Australian Human Rights Centre’s magazine Human Rights Defender has a special issue on the anti-terrorism bill, which they’ve published free on their website (text-only PDF, text-plus-graphics PDF). It’s a tad breathless, and would have benefited from giving space to … Continue reading

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Sex and Money, Part 352

Jason Soon notes that internet dating site has been accused of deceiving its customers, I thought it might be time to revisit what little economics has taught us about these markets. From What Makes You Click: An Empirical Analysis … Continue reading

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Proud to be Dismal

One of my colleagues brought to my attention today the origins of the term "dismal science". It was coined by Thomas Carlyle principally as a criticism of John Stuart Mill’s anti-slavery position. Carlyle apparently thought the notion of human equality … Continue reading

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Optimal contracting and child labour

I have a problem. I’d like to get the next door neighbour’s teenager to mow our lawn. But I’m not sure whether to pay him a flat fee or an hourly rate (mowing the lawn takes me about an hour). … Continue reading

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Ecstatic to be home

After her trial for drug possession, Australian model Michelle Leslie flies into Sydney today. I couldn’t help noticing that the devout Muslim seems to have adopted a new look since her release. Update: Since I posted this on Sunday, plenty … Continue reading

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Why growth is good for you (and for your neighbours too)

The Economist has a review (subscription only) of a new book by Harvard’s Ben Friedman, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. Mr Friedman argues that conventional thinking about economic growth is too narrow: it neglects its moral and political benefits. … Continue reading

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How banning smoking in bars hurts children

Francesca Cornaglia is visiting us from University College London at present. Her work is on smoking, and today she presented results on the effect of smoking taxes and bans on passive smoking, using variation across US states during the 1990s. … Continue reading

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Shorten on Shearerers

Trying to learn a little more about the wide/narrow comb shearing dispute of 1983, I came across this passage in a speech by AWU leader Bill Shorten – speaking to the Rural Press Club. Today, life for Shearers is tougher … Continue reading

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The G151

151 academics today presented a submission to the Senate Inquiry on the WorkChoices Bill. The submission is here. Mark Bahnisch has more.

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Flu not set to fly

China’s confirmation of three human cases of Bird Flu does not appear to have affected Tradesports’ estimate of the chance that it will enter the US before March, which are still around 39%.

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Rich across the Tasman

A summary of my paper on New Zealand top incomes with Tony Atkinson appeared in the Fairfax daily The Dominion Post yesterday. They’ve done a nice job of summarising a long paper.

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Not much to add to the pandemonium surrounding the Socceroos’ well-deserved win over Uruguay, and Australia’s qualification for the 2006 World Cup (it’s already in Wikipedia, so it must be true). John Quiggin questions the use of penalty shootouts as … Continue reading

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Asking the experts

We’re thinking about going off the dialup drip, and getting home broadband (wireless or DSL). We could probably restrict ourselves to around 1gig per month. Does anyone have any salient advice on choosing a service? I-Burst wireless looked reasonable at … Continue reading

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Of Lanes and Leighs

There’s a little piece in today’s Oz about my ARC grant on teacher quality, for those interested in the topic. I’m fortunate it was written by Bernard Lane, who I regard as one of the most thorough and thoughtful journalists … Continue reading

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Conflict of interest rates

Shopping centre magnate Frank Lowy steps down from the Reserve Bank Board on December 9, and a party is planned in his honour. I have a lot of time for Lowy, not only for giving money to kickstart our premier … Continue reading

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