Monthly Archives: January 2006

Well Packed

For anyone with a broadband connection and a Google fetish, installing the Google Pack is highly recommended.

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Mobile phones, the cigarette lighter of the new millennium

Just before we left Canberra, Gweneth and I saw Canadian/Australian Xavier Rudd perform at the ANU bar.* It struck me during the slow songs – which was most of the night – that during the late-80s/early-90s, people would’ve been holding … Continue reading

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Details, details

John Garnaut, writing in the Wall Street Journal* yesterday: "It would not be long before the benefits from not working, which are indexed to either prices or average earnings, will exceed the benefits from working," says Professor Mark Wooden, deputy … Continue reading

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Men (and Women) in Black

Gweneth and I are off to Melbourne on Friday, where I’ll be hanging around the Melbourne University economics department and business school until the end of April. Is Victoria connected to the Internet yet? If so, I might even get … Continue reading

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Divisive or Rewarding?

For more on that Houston teacher merit pay plan, check out the latest newsletter from Education Sector, a US education thinktank linked to the centrist wing of the Democratic Party. In other education news, Andrew Norton gives his $0.02 worth … Continue reading

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A Liberal Party that's worthy of the name

The Conservatives appear to have swept to power in Canada. But for the Liberals, the silver lining is the fact that Michael Ignatieff easily won his seat. Ignatieff was a professor when I was at Harvard, and is quite the … Continue reading

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ABSolutely Not

I was chatting last week with Elliott Fan, a new colleague in the SPEAR centre at ANU, who asked about how he should go about getting access to the microdata from the Australian Labour Force Survey. When I told him … Continue reading

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Smaller Class, Thinner Wallet

The Australian Education Union today begins another campaign to bring class sizes down to 20. As Justin Wolfers and I argued in 2002, in response to a surprising similar "twenty is plenty" campaign, the Bracks Government (which seems to be … Continue reading

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Bishop Takes Queen

Hot on the heels of moves in the far-right of the US Republican Party to amend the US constitution to ban flag-burning, large-L Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop has urged the same.* As I’ve argued recently, this may well breach the … Continue reading

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Military Intelligence

I’ve always thought Michael Jeffrey, our current GG, was a policy lightweight, whose best quality was that unlike his predecessor, he didn’t take a casual attitude to kiddie-fiddling. But now it turns out that he’s perfectly willing to inject himself … Continue reading

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PhD Scholarship in the Economics of Education

As part of my Australian Research Council grant, I’m offering a PhD scholarship in the economics of education. If you’re interested, please download the advertisement, and additional information (both PDF). Applications are due by 31 March 2006. If you’re at … Continue reading

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A trillion here, a trillion there, and soon you're talking real money

Interestingly, the new paper by Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz, estimating the cost of war in Iraq at around $1 trillion, is quite similar to the pre-war number that Justin Wolfers, Eric Zitzewitz and I put forward in 2003, based … Continue reading

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LOL @ LIL

A newly-married lawyer friend just emailed this glorious contribution to the rise in assortative matching. Lawyers in Love is the premier online dating site for single lawyers, law students, and legal professionals. If your schedule makes it difficult for you … Continue reading

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Public and Private in the Pacific

An economist friend working in the Solomon Islands emails with news and questions for IA readers. Labour mobility and working visas I liked this editorial from the Solomon Star last year (25/10/05), which I think makes the case pretty well … Continue reading

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Politics and Progeny

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Andrew Oswald’s finding that in the UK and Germany, daughters make their parents more likely to vote for left-wing parties. Now Ebonya Washington shows that US legislators with daughters are more likely to … Continue reading

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A blog that's getting hotter by the day

For those with an interest in climate change, the RealClimate blog – nerdy scientists talking about the details of global warming – is definitely worth checking out. (Hat tip: Sacha Blumen)

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No news is good news

Ian Davidoff, a student I’m working with on a project, just came across a 2004 report from the ACT government on school reporting. Its firm recommendation (#16) is to tell parents nothing about how their schools are performing. The report … Continue reading

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Teacher Work, Teacher Pay

According to AP, Houston teachers will now receive bonuses of up to $1000 per year based on their students’ test score gains. Apparently Houston is now the largest US district with this kind of merit pay scheme.

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Of course, you'd really like to be able to predict in advance how useful it'll be

A one-day forum on prediction markets is scheduled for Feb 3 in NYC. For anyone with a spare day and a spare $399, it might be worth attending. Full program over the fold.

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Econ talkin' dudes

The ANU RSSS Economics seminar schedule for January-February 2006 is below. All visitors welcome.

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Gallop Walks

The resignation of Geoff Gallop yesterday, praised by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett today as his "greatest act of public service" was a class act. Watching the press conference last night, I was impressed by his candour, and it set … Continue reading

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Light rail

In today’s SMH, former transport bureaucrat John Lee makes a pretty convincing case against light rail for George Street. I haven’t thought hard about these issues before, but his point about the flexibility of bus routes makes a lot of … Continue reading

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Summer Reading for Ian Harper

Today’s NYT magazine has a nice piece on the economics and politics of minimum and living wages (read it in the next 7 days, they’ll charge you for it after that). Oddly, it omits any mention of David Neumark’s work … Continue reading

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The Feminisation of Australian Universities

A discussion with Christine about the fact that the typical Australian undergraduate classroom is nearly 6/10ths female got me curious to go back to the statistics. Below are the long-run trends, both in absolute numbers and shares. In 1949, 19% … Continue reading

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Grog Blog Slogged

Julie Robotham’s Dissection blog links to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, purporting to show that giving out small amounts of alcohol to homeless men reduces harm to them. This may be true, or it may be false. … Continue reading

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Putting the "us" back into Russia

After watching the Nigerian scam email mutate via Cote D’Ivore to Scotland, I was starting to get bored with it. Besides, there’s a morbid fascination with seeing the latest scam drop into your inbox. So I could hardly complain when … Continue reading

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Why is Australia harsher on flag-burning than America?

In the US, burning a flag is regarded as a form of constitutionally protected speech. But it seems Australia is yet to catch up to this notion, with a Sydney magistrate, Paul Falzon, yesterday sentencing Hadi Khawaja to three months’ … Continue reading

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Economists for Hilary?

Are economists all right-wing nutters? Not in the US they’re not. Among members of the American Economic Association, 77 donated to the Democrats in 2000, while just 12 donated to the Republicans. Go further up the totem pole (to journal … Continue reading

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Suggested talking points for your next cab ride

The latest issue of EconJournalWatch has a neat synthesis (PDF) by Adrian Moore and Ted Balaker of the economic literature on regulation of the taxi industry. Their conclusion: Two out of three articles on taxi-market policy by economists find taxi … Continue reading

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Avarepublicyamug

Proving they’re not ashamed to play the folksey charm card, the Australian Republican Movement have launched their "Support a Mate for Head of State" day on Saturday 22 January. Details about the various state and territory events (scheduled in every … Continue reading

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