Monthly Archives: April 2006


John Kenneth Galbraith’s NYT obituary is definitely worth reading. Like most progressive economists, I enjoyed his books, but I’ve never found anything to cite in them. Even by the 1970s, economics was moving in a much more formal direction. But he … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, US Politics | 13 Comments

Elderly drivers

The awful events in Bathurst yesterday, where an 82-year old backed her car into a group of bystanders, injuring ten, raise the really tough question: how many of us would be willing to tell an elderly relative that they shouldn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The $64,000 question. Literally.

In Australia, we typically don’t tell parents the average test score in their neighbourhood primary school. In the US and UK, this information is considered public information, and its annual publication is routine. I had a bit to say about … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment

The Black Stuff

Turning on CSPAN in my hotel room today, it’s extraordinary to see the number of silly proposals that have been prompted by rising oil prices. So in the Australian context, it was rather nice to see that Nicholas Gruen and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 2 Comments

Best Read B Schools

SSRN has a ranking of non-US business schools, based on the number of papers by faculty that were downloaded. Full list over the fold

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Best Read B Schools

How does a 76000% tax rate affect taxpayer behaviour?

Bruce Chapman and I have released a paper looking at the effect of the HECS repayment threshold. In 2003-04 (the most recent year we looked at), earning $1 over the threshold reduced your post-tax income by $760, making it – … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Tax | 62 Comments

Solomons News

An anonymous friend in Honiara writes: New Solomons PM Snyder Rini resigned this morning after two more members of his coalition crossed the floor. Two others had switched sides last week after the riots so even with two opposition members … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Solomons News

Beers in Boston, Words in Wollongong

I’m off to Boston tomorrow (Wednesday) for the National Bureau of Economic Research’s economics of education program meetings. Alas, the weather in Boston seems to be just as cold as in Canberra, but if friends old and new are up … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 6 Comments

To compare, or not to compare?

The CIS’s Peter Saunders in The Australian in 2004 urging policymakers to cut taxes, because our top rate is higher than in other countries: The tax on higher-income earners is vicious. It is outrageous that people earning $62,000 per year are paying … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 14 Comments

Trustworthy grandma, trusting granddaughter

We understand surprisingly little about why some people trust, and others do not. Eric Uslaner takes us a step closer: Where You Stand Depends Upon Where Your Grandparents Sat: The Inheritability of Generalized Trust Generalized trust is a stable value … Continue reading

Posted in Social Capital | 1 Comment

The Sandy and Andy Show

I’ll be appearing on Australia Talks Back on the evening of Anzac Day, from 6-7pm on Radio National, spruiking my rather controversial proposal to pay Indigenous teens a daily stipend in order to boost the school completion rate.

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 24 Comments

The ABCs of Economics

I’ve been meaning for some time to mention an article in the SMH a few weeks back week, discussing the happiness paper that Justin Wolfers and I wrote. What caught my attention wasn’t the substance of the newspaper article, but its assumption that the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 6 Comments

You see, Alan, Australians enjoy filling out the Tax Pack

Michael Duffy points to a truly bizarre quote by the PM, speaking to Alan Jones this week: “I yesterday made some inquiries about this issue of not having tax returns [in Britain and New Zealand at least 70 per cent … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 8 Comments

Iowa Autos

From Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist, via QuantLogic: Economist David Friedman observes… that there are two ways for the United States to produce automobiles: they can build them in Detroit, or they can grow them in Iowa. Growing them in Iowa … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 5 Comments

One for the Mexicans

The Brisbane Festival of Ideas (held three weeks ago) has just posted a bunch of transcripts and audio files on its website.

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on One for the Mexicans

Not a whole Lott-a love

Beware of what you say about your colleagues in emails. They may take you to court for defamation. As the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, the second part of the Lott v Levitt lawsuit is even weirder than the first: … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 13 Comments

Back to the Berra

Gweneth and I are driving back to Canberra today (via a lunchtime seminar at RMIT). This will wrap up my 3-month stint at the University of Melbourne. Melbourne and ANU are both terrific universities, but ANU is still home. And … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments


At risk of sending thee to a place from whence thou shalt never return…. Ian Holsman has set up Economy-Chat, using RSS feeds to consolidate 22 econ-blogs (including this one). It’s very good.

Posted in Blogging, Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Immigration: good if you're a restaurant customer, maybe not so good if you're a waiter

George Borjas has a piece in today’s WSJ on immigration and wages in the US, arguing that a 10% increase in Mexican immigrants lowers low-skill native wages by 3-4%. He also makes some important points on the methodology of looking … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Low Wage Work | 4 Comments

Teacher Work, Teacher Pay

The Education Sector this month has plenty of interesting stuff on teacher pay, including an article by Kevin Carey on merit pay, a review of the ironically-titled Teachers Have It Easy, a discussion of Barack Obama’s new proposals, and an interview with the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Teacher Work, Teacher Pay

EPP – blog feedback

Over the past three months, I’ve been using this blog (and its predecessor) to post additional readings for my MBS Economics & Public Policy class. I’m now keen to get feedback from the class on how well this has worked. … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Economics & Public Policy Course | 11 Comments

A Big Apple for the Teacher

New York City is apparently offering housing subsidies of up to US$14,600 to attract teachers with 2+ years of experience. Oddly, the article doesn’t point out that this isn’t a particularly efficient way of attracting the best teachers (the value of the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 8 Comments

From Golden Age to Golden Age

For anyone interested in long-run trends in earnings of low wage workers, and possible policy solutions, this paper (PDF) by Paul Frijters and Bob Gregory is nothing if not thought-provoking. It’ll be coming out in a special issue of the … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Low Wage Work | Comments Off on From Golden Age to Golden Age

Does Death Deter?

The debate over the empirical evidence on death penalty deterrence occupies the first half of a recent issue of the Economist’s Voice. I don’t claim to be at all impartial (Wolfers is a mate) – but the article is quite entertaining.

Posted in Economics Generally | 8 Comments

EPP – Tiebout Sorting

The introduction to a new volume called Footloose at Fifty talks about the legacy of Charles Tiebout’s 1956 JPE paper “A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures”.

Posted in Economics & Public Policy Course | Comments Off on EPP – Tiebout Sorting

What's the Matter With What's the Matter With Kansas?

A bit over a month ago, I blogged on Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas? As the folks at CT mentioned late last year, there has been some data-driven debate in political science circles over this. Using the national … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics, What I'm Reading | 4 Comments

Argy on Social Mobility

Fred Argy has a new Australia Institute discussion paper out on inequality and social mobility. The Australia Institute only have the first 10 pages on their website, but you can get the gist from reading his oped in today’s Age: … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 15 Comments


I’ve joined the associates program, so if you click on a book link from this site, I’ll get 4% of the royalties. If you’re thinking of stocking a library, feel free to email to discuss commission-sharing opportunities…..

Posted in Blogging | 5 Comments

EPP – Prediction markets links

Following on from the discussion in class last week, here are a couple of useful links on prediction markets: Wikipedia entry Time Magazine article

Posted in Economics & Public Policy Course | 2 Comments

Expat voting

Sparking off the recent election of Senators representing the Italian diaspora to their parliament, Andrew Bartlett has a thoughtful discussion of various proposals, including one that I wrote based upon what Macgregor Duncan, David Madden, Peter Tynan and myself had … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 13 Comments