Monthly Archives: August 2006

The Eco Chamber

Over at Club Troppo, Fred Argy has penned a 3-part series on ideology and economic reform (Part I, Part II, Part III). He makes a number of important points, finishing off with the admonition: Economists are of course as entitled as … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Indigenous Literacy

In a new CIS report, Kirsten Storry* outlines the low levels of english literacy among Indigenous Australians, especially in remote communities, and suggests some policy reforms. Among her findings: * Literacy levels among children and adults in remote communities are … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Indigenous Policy | 12 Comments

Feminising Australian Economics

Alex Millmow and Cheryl Bookallil have a paper in the September 2006 issue of Economic Papers, looking at the gender imbalance in Australian economics departments. A few quotes: While females now constitute 58% of all university enrolments, enrolments of females … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Universities | 7 Comments

The yellow stuff

A friend of mine, Terry Fewtrell, is organising a forum on citizenship on Friday. Details below. Wattle Day Forum on Australian Values & Citizenship Three eminent Canberrans will share their views on Australian Values and Citizenship at a Forum at … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on The yellow stuff

Bring the grandkids

Susan Mayer, Dean of the Harris School at the University of Chicago, is speaking on intergenerational inheritance of income at 5.30pm on Thursday 31 August at the National Museum. Here are the details, and a PDF flyer.

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

Two types of scholarships

Crikey today draws my attention to SMH reports of a battle between UNSW and Sydney University proffering merit scholarships. Apparently both institutions already offer $10,000 per year to those who get a UAI of 99.9 or over, and UNSW is … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 20 Comments

Don Chipp

Andrew Bartlett posts a thoughtful obituary of Democrats’ founder Don Chipp, who died last night.

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on Don Chipp

Teacher reading

There’s a bit more commentary around today responding to my teacher aptitude study with Chris Ryan. Here’s a sampling: An oped by former headmistress Judith Wheeldon in the Australian. Some commentary on merit pay in the Courier Mail. Reader feedback … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 4 Comments

Teachers vs Dentists

Chris Ryan and I have written up our paper on teacher aptitude as an oped for today’s Australian. I’m pretty happy with the way the piece turned out.  It’s also received some coverage in the SMH, Oz, Age, ABC and AAP. From her … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 8 Comments

Tall Story?

We learned in 2003 that Europeans are taller than Americans, and the gap is getting bigger. From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century John Komlos & Marieluise Baur … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 3 Comments

You can't be a clever country without smart teachers

My ANU colleague Chris Ryan and put out a media release today announcing a new study on the academic aptitude of new teachers in Australia. We find a pretty substantial drop over the last two decades. Here’s our abstract: How … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 14 Comments


An interesting thing seems to have happened this week. I’ve discovered that comments I post on other Australian blogs – Club Troppo, John Quiggin, Joshua Gans, Road to Surfdom – are immediately eaten by the spam filter. My guess is … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | 5 Comments

Teacher Man

Frenk McCourt (author of Angela’s Ashes) has a splendid book entitled Teacher Man. It’s about his time teaching in New York City schools. Weaving together the joys and frustrations of teaching, the exciting melting pot that is NYC, and a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Gone Walkabout

Peter McDonald, the head of the Demography and Sociology program at the research school at ANU, is organising a one-day conference on internal migration on 21 November. If you or your organisation has a spare $350, here’s the flyer.

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Gone Walkabout

Vote Early, Vote Spunky

I’m giving a talk next Tuesday at the Crawford School of Economics and Government (previously known as APSEG). The seminar is entitled “Beautiful Politicians”. It’s based on work with University of South Australia student Amy King, looking at whether better-looking political … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | Comments Off on Vote Early, Vote Spunky

Nice school – how much for the house?

Ian Davidoff and I have an oped in today’s Australian, explaining our paper on the relationship between school quality and house prices.

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Nice school – how much for the house?

Slicing the Pie

  I’ve been playing around recently with the new income distribution data that the ABS has released. I’ve created the graphs above, which show the change in real hourly wages and real income across the distribution, over the first eight years of the … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 14 Comments

Doctored websites

For anyone who’s interested in doing a doctorate in economics, we at ANU have just updated our website for prospective PhD students. While economics research at ANU is often accused of being too dispersed across the campus, our economics PhD … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Doctored websites

Silly hat, smart bloke

Professor Richard Freeman, one of the people who taught me labour economics, and perhaps the most prolific writer in the economics profession, is giving a seminar at Sydney University on Thursday. Details: Title: “Experimental Economics on Inequality” Time: 4 pm, … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Universities | 5 Comments

Drugs for Money?

The Faculty of Medicine at UNSW is looking for an economist to work on the Drug Policy Modelling Program. This position forms part of a new program at NDARC, the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP). The DPMP is a five-year … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Drugs for Money?

Second-order preferences

A reader recently forwarded me a paper given by Australia Institute Director Clive Hamilton to a Productivity Commission retreat (Clive has kindly given me permission to post the paper). Here’s the gist of it: The core of my argument draws on … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 12 Comments

$93 oil

Nicholas Day draws my attention to the World Economic Forum’s global risks prediction markets (“Trading uncertainty for collective wisdom”). The markets are run by NewsFutures, and deserve to be making more frequent appearances in press reports. What will be the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on $93 oil

Top Floor, Going Up

An updated version of my research with Tony Atkinson on top incomes is written up by John Garnaut in the SMH today. There’s not much there to surprise regular readers of this blog. But since it’s not every day that … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 7 Comments

Billboard Beazley

I flew into Canberra from Perth tonight (it’s a surprisingly quick trip – just 3 3/4 hours). The usual billboards in Canberra airport invite you to buy a destroyer or a new missile system (are there really people who read … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 3 Comments

Does Inequality Kill You?

It is often argued that inequality is bad for your health. Indeed, in Imagining Australia, my coauthors and I made precisely this argument, saying that one of the reasons that policymakers should be worried about inequality is because it makes … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Inequality | 25 Comments

If you want to get more poor people to uni, why not offer policies that focus on the poor?

Andrew Norton argues that Jenny Macklin is putting students off university with her talk of big student debts. It’s hard to say for sure whether Labor’s previous campaigns on ‘$100,000 degrees’ have affected student demand, which was lower this year … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Universities | 20 Comments


Harvard researcher Ben Olken spent a summer in Indonesia digging up roads, in an attempt to estimate the extent of corruption. His initial paper looked at the magnitude and correlates of corruption, while his latest compares corruption perceptions and reality, … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 1 Comment

Write Up

I’ve started using Windows Live Writer – thanks to JG for the tip.

Posted in Blogging | Comments Off on Write Up

Are Australian Economists Unethical?

Philip Clarke, a friend of mine who’s a health economist, just suggested to me that most Australian empirical economists might be in breach of our ethical codes. His argument goes like this: the Australian census compels a response. As the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

Betting on Beattie

As serendipity would have it, I was presenting a workshop on program evaluation to a Queensland Government group yesterday. When the election news broke late in the morning, there was much rejoicing. The Australian goes to the betting markets: Centrebet has … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 11 Comments