Monthly Archives: June 2006


In the wake of our Baby Bonus study, a mother who gave birth on 30 June 2004 just emailed me. Here’s her story. I was a private patient.  I spoke with my private ob, a public ob and private and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 23 Comments

Newborn research

Some commentary in the papers on our Baby Bonus study, including the SMH, Australian (who managed to find a 1/7/04 baby), the Courier Mail and AFP (who creatively linked it to our deaths research). Joshua has a roundup of the blogs. Gweneth … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 11 Comments

Born on the First of July

On 11 May 2004, Peter Costello brought down the budget in which he urged Australian families to have “one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country”. And because Treasurers can put their money where their mouth is, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 5 Comments


John Quiggin had an excellent article on social production in Friday’s AFR. His conclusions: First, if monetary returns are weakly, or even negatively correlated with the value of social production, there’s no reason to expect capital markets to do a good … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | 3 Comments

Who killed Kenny's vote?

Economists tend to eschew “stated preference” (what people say) in favour of “revealed preference” (what they do). And here’s an example of why. Earlier this year, launching a book by The Australian on his government, John Howard singled out for … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 8 Comments

Innocence Lost

In the NYT, Houston lawyer David Dow powerfully makes the point that the “he might be innocent” argument is one of the weaker reasons for opposing the death penalty, and abolitionists ought to place less weight on it than they currently … Continue reading

Posted in Law | 2 Comments

Judged Equal

Nice to see the ultra-cautious Judicial Conference of Australia today coming out in favour of equalising pension arrangements for same-sex judges. I’m guessing that this type of discrimination will seem as odd to the next generation as miscegenation laws do to … Continue reading

Posted in Law | Comments Off on Judged Equal

Miss, will you be coming back to this school next year?

In the 2004 election campaign, federal Labor proposed paying good teachers more to teach in disadvantaged schools. Now that Beazley’s ALP has ditched the private school hit-list policy that was the centrepiece of the education platform, there’s a risk that this policy … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 6 Comments

A heartbeat away

In today’s SMH, John Garnaut writes up my paper with Joshua Gans on Australia’s 1979 abolition of the inheritance tax (here’s Joshua’s take). Recall that we find that about 50 people – half of those who would have paid the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | Comments Off on A heartbeat away

Picking birthdays

Over at the Apila Econ Blog, Brandon Fuller has written up the paper on “Bargaining Over Labor” which I wrote with Joshua Gans. I’m embarassed to say it, but I think he did at least as good a job explaining it … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | Comments Off on Picking birthdays

What's the right role for teacher unions?

If I write a lot of posts linking to EdSector, it’s because I feel that they’re having discussions that Australia may be having in a few years’ time. This week, Andrew Rotherham writes a very sensible post on what constructive … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 6 Comments


ANU computer science graduate David Tulloh just did a superb bit of programming for me over the weekend (he wrote me a “spider” to extract figures from a couple of publicly available databases). On the off-chance that anyone is looking … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Spiderman

The man who put the gini into genial

Fred Argy gave a terrific talk on inequality at the Kurrajong Hotel tonight. He’s deeply grounded in the data, both Australian and international, so didn’t overstate the rise in inequality over time. But he is thinking about issues such as intergenerational … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 5 Comments


What a game. As one of the SMH commenters put it, “all hail Tim Cahill”. According to Centrebet, we’re now the 12th most likely team to win the Cup. Overnight, the Socceroos’ odds dropped from 80:1 to 51:1.

Posted in Sport | 4 Comments

The Cup Runneth Over

Rank and Vile has a nice discussion of soccer from the viewpoint of an AFL fan. He quotes a forum member from the Melbourne Victory board: Australian Rules barrackers are baffled by the low-scoring nature of football. They are used … Continue reading

Posted in Sport | 8 Comments

Chair, and chair alike

A common stereotype of Australian economics is that there are never any chairs on offer.* But right now, there are two research-only professorships being advertised in economics – one with the Melbourne Institute (which is also looking for a more … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Chair, and chair alike

From Magic Water to Magic Dirt

After some appalling media coverage of John Marsden’s funeral and Justice Michael Kirby’s decision to deliver a eulogy, it’s good to see Mike Carlton today sounding a rather more balanced note. I was pleased to see that he didn’t spare … Continue reading

Posted in Law | 2 Comments

Leaping Fools and Weekend Workers

Most of us dislike bargaining with professionals. Whether it’s haggling with lawyers over a court case, wrestling with real estate agents over a house price, or dicing with dentists over whether your child really should have orthodontics, the battle between … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 4 Comments

Thanatophobia and Taxes

Joshua Gans and I have been playing around recently with daily births and deaths data. Our latest paper looks at the abolition of Australian inheritance taxes on 1 July 1979 (a change legislated in 1978 under John Howard, then known as the … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Tax | 7 Comments

Capital punishment

Events in ACT local politics yesterday have gone largely unremarked. Which is a pity, since this SMH report contained at least three surprises before breakfast. ACT Transport Minister John Hargreaves says he has let his family, community and party down … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on Capital punishment

How much did you pay for your driver's licence?

I’ve recently been discussing a project with the ANU Human Research Ethics Committee, so ethical research is dear to my heart. Our application was approved yesterday (more on that later this year), but I’m not sure that this one would … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 6 Comments

Free the data

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has today announced that it will cut the price of access to its available microdata from $8000 to $1320 (for non-university users; university users get the data free). For those of us who believe in … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 28 Comments

Kindy for All?

Eduwonk features a debate over universal preschool. Since federal education minister Julie Bishop has proposed universal preschool for Australian four year olds, the US discussion is pretty relevant here too.

Posted in Economics of Education | 5 Comments

Labor Pains

An update on the Centrebet odds. Labor is currently $2.25. Coalition $1.57. Take out the bookies’ profit margin, and it implies that the punters think that there’s a 41% chance that the ALP will win the Lodge, and a 59% chance the … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 8 Comments

Revelations in the Delivery Room

As the Herald Sun recently reported, children born tomorrow will have the birthdate 6/6/6. Work that Joshua Gans and I have recently completed on the millennium effect suggests that parents have a surprisingly high degree of flexibility over birthdates, with possible strategies … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 5 Comments

Crack and pack didn't get them back

A commonly held view is that the extraordinarily high incumbent re-election rate in the US is due to gerrymandering (colloquially known to political operatives as “crack and pack”). My friends John Friedman (a Harvard PhD student) and Richard Holden (an Aussie … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, US Politics | 12 Comments

One for the price of one

Alex Tabarrok has a neat post on the US National Kidney Foundation trying to shut down any discussion of the prospect of paying donors.

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on One for the price of one

Praying mantis politics

The Democratic Leadership Council presents an impassioned defence of Senator Joe Lieberman (full text over the fold). Ironically, he’s currently under challenge by Move On, who should.

Posted in US Politics | 17 Comments

Mix n match

I have a writeup of my paper on child gender and parents’ marital status in the “Lies & Statistics” column of today’s AFR.

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment

When one blog just isn't enough

Another TV, an extra car, a second mobile phone. And now, the new thing seems to be setting up another blog. Apparently, all the cool economics kids are doing it. John Quiggin’s second blog (third if you count his crosspostings at Crooked Timber) … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments