Monthly Archives: June 2006

Icelandic Whispers

My happiness paper with Justin Wolfers has received a new lease of life. An article in the News Ltd press was picked up by the Guardian (sidenote – the quotes in the article don’t bear a great deal of resemblance … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

Travelling North

Gweneth and I will be travelling during July – to China, Germany, France and the US. I’m hoping to post travel reflections, but apologies in advance if my postings come a little less regularly than usual. In particular, I’ll be curious … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Should the Future Fund only buy Australian?

A new paper from the Australian Treasury, released as an NBER Working Paper this week (perhaps it’s been around for a while, though this is the first time I’ve seen it), discusses the Future Fund, and makes a sensible point … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 5 Comments

Double chins

Ross Gittins today writes up research by David Cutler, Ed Glaeser and Jesse Shapiro, which suggests that the obesity increase over recent decades is largely due to improvements in food technology. Just goes to show that in the Sydney Morning … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Media | 25 Comments

Academics – you just never know when they'll turn on you

According to an editorial in the Australian today, I’m part of the solution, and part of the problem. According to research carried out by a pair of economists, Andrew Leigh and Justin Wolfers, Australians are a happy lot, coming in … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 13 Comments

Billy the Kidder

From the BBC. A British army regiment’s ceremonial pet goat was demoted in disgrace after it marched out of line before a host of international dignitaries during a parade to mark Queen’s Elizabeth II’s birthday, a military spokesman said Saturday. … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 1 Comment

Around the blogs

* Joshua Gans on the joys of random reading. * Steve Levitt on why soccer players don’t aim their penalty kicks at the middle of the goal as often as they should. * Progressives Jason Furman and Barbara Ehrenreich debate whether Wal-Mart is … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 17 Comments

Mutiny or bounty?

Wayne Bucklar, an ex-QUT academic, has taken it upon himself to establish new websites for all Australian academics, and then email us to tell us that we should go and correct them. As he says “It is incomplete and may … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 4 Comments

Death, Taxes, and Soccer

On this black armband morning, Joshua and I have written up our death and taxes piece in The Age. It’s exactly as we wrote it, except that the sub-editor apparently thought it would be a good idea to replace “decedents” (dead … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Sport | 4 Comments

A Journal of Intriguing Economic Ideas?

My friend, coauthor and former colleague Paul Frijters was today complaining that the inherent conservatism of economics journals means that boring papers have a higher chance of getting published than innovative ones. So perhaps we need an economics journal like this: … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

Over the top downunder

The World Wealth Report 2006 calculates how the share of “high net wealth individuals” (those with more than US$1 million in financial assets) has changed over recent years. They estimate that there were 134,000 HNWIs in Australia in 2004, and 146,000 in … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 9 Comments

Aussie Schools Ltd

Andrew Norton has a good post on the furore surrounding for-profit schools. Like him, I find it hard to get too worked up about this. What matters is not whether a school makes a profit, but whether it’s subject to … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 2 Comments

An early inducement

According to today’s Sun Herald and Sunday Age, obstetricians are calling on Health Minister Tony Abbott to bring forward the Baby Bonus announcement from July 1 (next Saturday) to June 26 (tomorrow). As the Sun Herald put it: A leading … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | Comments Off on An early inducement

Lunatic theories

Joshua Gans and I have been writing recently about a bunch of different things that affect the timing of births and deaths. The Millennium, weekends and inauspicious days, the abolition of inheritance taxes, and the introduction of a $3000 baby … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 3 Comments

What better way to spend a Friday afternoon in Canberra?

The ANU RSSS Economics seminar schedule for June and July is below. All welcome.

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on What better way to spend a Friday afternoon in Canberra?

I'll bet they're shaking in their boot

Well, I’ll be durned. Tradesports has Australia a 25% chance of beating Italy (1am Tue). Admittedly, it also says that our chance of taking the Cup back to Sydney are about 0.8%.

Posted in Sport | 5 Comments

Baby Bonuses and One-Child Policies

My Baby Bonus paper with Joshua Gans is written up in the People’s Daily. I may never again match this readership. I can’t help wondering what a country with a one-child policy makes of a baby bonus. Since I’ll be in … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 20 Comments

Empires, Sheriffs and Conspiracy Theories

Jason Soon links to John Pilger’s latest loopy conspiracy theory piece in the New Statesman (full text here), alleging that Australia engineered the East Timorese shennigans so as to engage in empire-building in the Pacific. I’d like to think that … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Big apple, small arms

The United Nations is holding a Small Arms Review Conference in New York from 26 June – 7 July. Aussie researcher Philip Alpers will be attending, and tells me he’ll be posting updates on his Gun Policy website. But the conference … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The quality of inequality is not strained (though it may be skewed)

John Garnaut draws my attention to this week’s Economist, which has a characteristically engaging piece on inequality, concluding with a summary of “must-read” papers.

Posted in Inequality | Comments Off on The quality of inequality is not strained (though it may be skewed)

Televisions, Toasters and Tabloids

Showing that Laura Norder still runs criminal justice policy, NSW Premier Morris Iemma today caved into a story in the Daily Tele by taking away Ivan Milat’s toasted sandwich maker and television. So far, the debate has been about whether … Continue reading

Posted in Law | 4 Comments

Nic Off

I don’t often feel sorry for celebrities, but the media pack swarming like flies around Nicole Kidman’s house is a bit over the top. No great surprise that she doesn’t spend more time in Australia if she can’t even go … Continue reading

Posted in Media | Comments Off on Nic Off

Go figure

I’ve been prattling on recently about how the Australian Bureau of Statistics should make its microdata (a) free and (b) accessible to overseas users. My colleague Philip Clarke just popped in to tell me that things have actually gotten worse … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on Go figure

Academia online

The Australian’s Higher Education supplement today has a piece by Bernard Lane on academic blogging (quoting Mark B and Ken P), and another piece by yours truly on why academics should put papers on their websites, and blog, if so inclined. … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Universities | 9 Comments

Short day, long blog

John Quiggin, one of my main role models on the Ozblogosphere, reports that his blog is four years old today. He’s chalked up about 3000 posts and 50,000 comments. He modestly notes “No doubt, much of the content has been ephemeral or … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | Comments Off on Short day, long blog

One for the huddled masses

The Californian-based Independent Institute has put out an open letter on immigration, signed by 500+ US scholars. About 40 foreigners (of which I’m one) also signed on, though I’m not quite sure how persuaded GWB will be by non-US citizens signing … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Inequality, Low Wage Work, US Politics | 2 Comments

Imagine how much they'd pay not to live next to a politician….

How much less would the typical housebuyer pay for a home a few doors down from a convicted sex offender? About five grand, according to Leigh Linden and Jonah Rockoff. There Goes the Neighborhood? Estimates of the Impact of Crime … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 6 Comments

Philanthropy, US-style

The latest Harvard bulletin contained a little reminder of why Harvard has the largest endowment of any institution in the world. The Rainmakers, Class of 1981 The class of 1981’s 25th reunion has set records all the way around. The … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 4 Comments


More Baby Bonus news: Oped in today’s Australian Snippet on NPR Peter Costello responding to our research in Question Time yesterday I will, I promise, post on other topics soon. If I’m starting to repeat myself, I blame it on … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 6 Comments

When one bad poll turns into two front-page stories

Here are the last three AC Nielsen polls: 20-23 April: ALP 51% of the 2PP vote 18-20 May: ALP 54% of the 2PP vote   15-18 June: ALP 51% of the 2PP vote And here are the corresponding SMH headlines: Voters spurn tax cuts and … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 23 Comments