Monthly Archives: December 2005

Brief Bloghiatus

I’m heading to Jervis Bay today with Gweneth’s family (via the Big Potato), so unless our beachly neighbour has an unsecured wireless network, I suspect this will be my last post for 2005. Thanks to the many people who’ve commented … Continue reading

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Kerry Packer

I didn’t want to blog on the passing of Kerry Packer immediately, since I didn’t have appropriately generous thoughts to add to the encomiums that were flowing. And indeed, praise seems to have come from many unexpected sources. Even Bob … Continue reading

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My prediction for 2006: most prognostications will be (a) obvious or (b) wrong

I was just asked by an Australian e-zine to given them my predictions on an issue for 2006. OK pundits, here is your opportunity … What are your predictions? What will be the trends for example, in housing, work, education, … Continue reading

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Iraqi reflections

The NYT asked four US service members in Iraq to talk about how they’ll be spending Christmas. Here are their reflections.

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To a man with a hammer…

…everything looks like a nail.

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How to vote? Ask your child.

Last year, Gordon Dahl and Enrico Moretti showed us that American families who have daughters are more likely to get divorced and less likely to get married. Now Andrew Oswald and coauthors have shown us that in the UK and … Continue reading

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A camera for the teacher?

Sometimes tough problems turn out to have pretty simple solutions. This one speaks for itself. Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to SchoolEsther Duflo and Rema HannaIn the rural areas of developing countries, teacher absence is a widespread problem. This … Continue reading

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Giving Girls a Head Start

And the 2005 award for "best paper on early childhood intervention" goes to….. MIT’s Michael Anderson for a terrific reanalysis of three early randomised trials of childhood intervention programs – Abecedarian, Perry Preschool, and the Early Training project.* He finds … Continue reading

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A reason to celebrate pricey petrol

Do higher gasoline taxes save lives? David C. Grabowski and Michael A. Morrisey, writing in the latest issue of Economic Letters, think so. Their conclusion: This paper offers the first direct test of whether plausibly exogenous increases in gasoline taxes … Continue reading

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State of Iraq

Another good summary of Iraq by Mike O’Hanlon and coauthors. The surprising parts (to me) were the large increases in cars and phones. Figures on fatalities are pretty grim (as we’re frequently reminded). Iraqi optimism has fallen since 2003, but … Continue reading

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Wot Works

A new paper by Lisa Barrow and Cecilia Rouse is a good introduction to how economists view education policy, and the paucity of hard evidence on most possible policies. While I don’t agree with all their conclusions (FWIW, here’s my … Continue reading

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The Active Debate Over Passive Smoking

I mentioned a few weeks ago a study by our visitor Francesca Cornaglia (with Jerome Adda), which found that banning smoking in bars increased the amount of smoke that kids inhale at home, since parents switch from smoking in bars … Continue reading

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BG's Downunder Tour

Star Harvard astronomer Bryan Gaensler (and one-time young Aussie of the year) is shifting to Sydney University to work on magnetism. It’s a huge catch for the department. The move is also exactly what the federation fellowships should be about … Continue reading

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R & R

We spent the weekend in Sydney, catching up with friends, and attending the wedding of lawecon friends Rosalind Dixon and Richard Holden. A delightful day, made all the more entertaining by the happy couple’s willingness to bring their academic passions … Continue reading

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Two minutes for soft-boiled

Former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer gave a speech at a graduation ceremony I attended on Friday. Wait, did I say speech? Sorry, I meant a random collection of unrelated political anecdotes that served only to remind the listener of … Continue reading

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Just a splash away

One has to be careful in a small pond like Australia. No sooner had I mentioned James McConvill on this blog than I found myself sharing a page with him in the Geelong Advertiser.

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Liars for Bush

It’s wonderful what you can come up with if you’re willing to make stuff up. A friend living in the US sent me this email today. Subject: Pull Out Off [sic] DC If you consider that there have been an … Continue reading

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Moving on up

A week of postings appears to have disappeared yesterday, but be back today. Typepad apologises…. as usual. In the meantime, feel free to suggest alternative hosts (I’m about to switch anyway). I’d like a host that would support an andrewleigh.com … Continue reading

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Mathematical Miracles

As every NSW school student and parent knows, the Higher School Certificate is a relative ranking, with 80 meaning that you beat 80% of your cohort. Each year’s students are compared to their peers.It doesn’t take a 4 unit maths … Continue reading

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God, Gays and Guns

Ed Glaeser and Bryce Ward’s new paper Myths and Realities of American Political Geography (highly recommended), contains this startling sentence: "In the 1987-2003 PEW Values surveys, 56 percent of Mississippi residents think that AIDS is God’s punishment for immoral sexual … Continue reading

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Tax, the Liberal and Labor Leaderships, Monetary Policy, WorkChoices, Telstra, and More

Ross Gittins gave a speech on Tuesday to the Australian Business Economists Annual Forecasting Conference, and has kindly allowed me to reprint it over the fold. Most conference speeches contain one novel idea, two if you’re lucky. Ross demonstrates what … Continue reading

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You can tell a lot about a fellow from when he riots

Are the Cronulla riots a reaction to joblessness? In the Australian yesterday, Cameron Stewart and Amanda Hodge suggested that they might be (prompting some discussion from Paul Watson at Troppo). But as one of my senior colleagues pointed out over … Continue reading

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Voluntary voting would help the Coalition, CIS study finds

In the latest issue of Policy, Derek Chong, Tim Fry and Sinclair Davidson look at the issue of compulsory voting, and utterly demolish Liberal Senator Nick Minchin’s suggestion that moving to voluntary voting would not affect his team’s performance in … Continue reading

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I'm ready for my close-up now, Justice DeMille

Dahlia Lithwick opines that the generational shift to from Rehnquist CJ to Roberts CJ will bring the cameras into the US Supreme Court in a couple of years. I’d like to think that the same will occur in Australia soon, … Continue reading

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SS

If you haven’t read it, this New Yorker profile of outrageous Jewish standup comic Sarah Silverman is hilarious.

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Are the Cronulla Riots George Bush's Fault?

I guess it had to happen. Yesterday, a chain email from Robert Fletcher dropped into my inbox: There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that the simplified anti-Islam line being spouted by people in power and influence since 9-11, … Continue reading

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Great acronyms I have known

Andrew Norton will be glad to know that not everyone gets to sit in the lectures of his favourite academics Mirko Bagaric and James McConvill. It turns out that in order to apply for undergraduate law programs at Deakin University, … Continue reading

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Getting our 7 cents worth

Good news for Australian public diplomacy today, with the government selecting the ABC as the operator of TV broadcasting in Asia from 2006-2011. Perhaps the government will now look at a more ambitious approach to public diplomacy efforts. In the … Continue reading

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Y'know darlin, maybe we should take our honeymoon in New Zealand instead?

So much for that warm Sydney Olympics glow from a few years back. Here’s how the rest of the world is looking at Sydney right now. CNN: Anti-Arab rioters smash cars, windows in SydneyFox: Race Riots Engulf SydneyAl Jazeera: Race … Continue reading

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What happens when you end welfare as we know it?

Christopher Jencks, the chair of my PhD committee, has a review in the NYRB of Jason DeParle’s American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare. He calls it "by far the best book about welfare … Continue reading

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