Monthly Archives: December 2005

Losing it in Lakemba

What kind of lunatic gets an SMS saying "Let’s go and gather outside Lakemba Mosque", and thinks "Oh yes, what a terrific idea – I’ve got nothing better to do on a Monday night than threaten some Muslim mums"? I … Continue reading

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Cronulla Sharks

Like Jason Soon, I’m appalled by yesterday’s violence in Cronulla, with shades of Hindu/Muslim violence in India, and perhaps even the treatment of Jews in early-1930s Germany. This photo in the SMH made me feel physically ill. I get the … Continue reading

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The Deadweight Cost of Christmas

An oldie but a goodie. For anyone who hasn’t seen Joel Waldfogel’s 2002 paper, Does Consumer Irrationality Trump Consumer Sovereignty? Evidence from Gifts and Own Purchases, tis the season to read it. The abstract: Scholars working on the border of … Continue reading

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Academia Online

Andrew Oswald and Mary Visser had a piece in the Times Higher Education supplement last week, on the virtues of having a decent academic website. After praising the Becker-Posner blog, they say: In our opinion, the personal website will keep … Continue reading

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Center for Cures

Following on from the public discussion this week of the late Senator Peter Cook’s work on cancer cures, US Senator Joe Lieberman’s proposal for a US Center for Cures sounds another worthwhile option.

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Social Capitalists

Gweneth and I hosted a party for our street on Saturday, for the second year in a row. Tis a very pleasant way to spend a few weekend hours. And there’s something nice about knowing some of your neighbours’ names … Continue reading

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Bomber's Away

I reported last Thu that the parties’ odds were very close. In an email, Bryan Palmer just drew my attention to a remarkable event: Labor and the Coalition are now precisely 50/50 in the betting markets (at Centrebet, each pays … Continue reading

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Something in the water

In July, I wrote to all state and territory education ministers, asking for teacher salary schedules over the past 15 years. Most replied, with the exception of the Northern Territory. So I just wrote again to the NT education minister … Continue reading

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What happens when the state turns a blind eye

Assault and sexual assault in jail are often considered par for the course, even the subject of jokes in movies. But prison violence is real and frequent – one Australian study found that one in four young male prisoners had … Continue reading

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Labor Lifts

Bryan Palmer reports that the betting markets have Labor nearly a 50% chance of winning the 2007 election. Not since the Tampa spied the Palapa in August 2001 have Labor’s odds been this good.

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APB for HTVs

Does anyone hold or know of an archive of how-to-vote cards from past Australian federal elections? I’ve tried all the usual suspects (national archives, libraries, Australian Electoral Commission), and haven’t had much luck. Even the political parties only have incomplete … Continue reading

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Was Michael Leunig right?

Should governments provide more generous subsidies to child care? Part of the answer turns on the quality of that care. Here are two new papers on the topic, the first suggesting that US daycare boosts academic achievement while lowering social … Continue reading

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Take down the Union Jack, it clashes with the sunset

Via Cam Riley comes the news that Victorian Labor Senator Gavin Marshall had a bill on notice to amend the Flags Act 1953 to make the Eureka flag an official flag of Australia. Looks like it was done for the … Continue reading

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Travelling North

Paul Frijters, my most prolific colleague, will be moving to take up a professorship at Queensland University of Technology’s economics department next year. It’s great news for Paul – not many Australians get appointed a professor at the tender age … Continue reading

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Death (Penalty) Watch

Peter Martin has a terrific piece today on economists and the death penalty, referring to Justin Wolfers’ paper with John Donohue, upon which I blogged recently.

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Tiwi Thinking

Veronica Cleary’s CIS paper on Aboriginal education, based on her 2-year stay in the Tiwi Islands community, is a surprisingly balanced piece on Indigenous policy by from the thinktank that sometimes features the sometimes-rather-less-balanced Helen Hughes. Ms Cleary advocates the … Continue reading

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Condolence motion for Peter Cook

The condolence motion for Senator Peter Cook was spoken on in Parliament yesterday – see pp.32-38 and pp.104-127 from the House debate, and pp.41-64 of the Senate debate. The speeches repay reading. My favourite was from fellow West Australian Graham … Continue reading

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Vale Peter Cook

Peter Cook passed away on Saturday, aged 62. He was an extraordinary bloke, for whom I had the privilege to work from 1998-2000. In the Hawke and Keating cabinets, and shadow cabinets under Beazley and Crean, he fought for his … Continue reading

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Lightning strikes, the death penalty, and lawyers doing dodgy econometrics

The United States has just executed its 1000th inmate since the 1972-76 moratorium was lifted. Whereas Australia has seen saturation coverage of the brutal execution of Nguyen Tuong Van in Singapore, the 1000th execution milestone in the US was a … Continue reading

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Of barricades and ballot boxes

I have a little piece in today’s AFR on how union members vote. Full text over the fold.

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The Workers' Paradise?

The OECD’s Peter Whiteford visited Australia earlier this year, and gave a presentation at ANU entitled The Welfare Expenditure Debate: “Economic Myths of the Left and the Right” Revisited. He’s kindly allowed me to post a copy of the paper … Continue reading

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Looking for an honours project?

Any undergrad doing mathematics/statistics/econometrics/economics honours next year and looking for a topic, feel free to email me. You’d need to be willing to handle a very large dataset, and it would help if you were a sports fan. I’m happy … Continue reading

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Alphabetical Discrimination

A colleague just pointed me to this paper, on the effect of surnames on promotion prospects. What’s in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic SuccessLiran Einav and Leeat YarivWe present evidence that a variety of proxies for … Continue reading

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Asking the Experts II

Thanks very much to everyone who gave me their advice on home broadband. After searching a whole bunch of plans (including the excellent Whirlpool comparison site – thanks spog), I ended up going with TransAct and their Grapevine ISP. Now, … Continue reading

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Don't leave your pet bunny unattended near the ANU science facilities

Every now and then you get a little insight into what other people in the university are researching. Take this email sent to all ANU staff this morning, for example: S8 drugs used in animal studies require authorisation by the … Continue reading

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