Monthly Archives: September 2006

From tech support to smilies

Surfing for a cute quote to put in an oped, I stumbled across these, from the website of French writer and rockclimber Guillaume Dargaud. Q: How many tech support people does it take to change a light bulb? A: We … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 3 Comments

B & B

With Tony Blair’s announcement today, it looks like Gordon Brown will be Britain’s 52nd Prime Minister within the year. When he stood aside from the leadership ballot in 1994, I’ll bet he didn’t think he thought it would be another … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Inequality in Australia Conference – 2 Nov

I’m convening a conference on Inequality in Australia at ANU on Thursday 2 November 2006. The speakers will be Christopher Jencks (Harvard), Bruce Headey (Melbourne), Peter Saunders (UNSW), Bob Gregory (ANU) and your truly. Here’s the blurb: The sessions will … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 1 Comment

Political Economy of Tax Reform in Australia

The John Curtin Institute of Public Policy has just established the journal Public Policy. I have a piece in the first issue entitled “Political Economy of Tax Reform in Australia“. It’s only a short paper, essentially building on a piece I … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 5 Comments


I’ve just finished reading The Wran Era, edited by my friend Troy Bramston to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the election of the Wran Government in 1976. For the project, Troy brought together a brace of politicians, journalists and academics … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on Wranslide

A little reading on the big push

I blogged last year on the Jeff Sachs “big push” view of international development versus the William Easterly “incremental change” view. Perhaps the best way of seeing the differences between the two is to read Easterly’s recent review of Sachs’ … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, What I'm Reading | 1 Comment

Sydney to NYU in 8 hours

Just to make sure that the grass doesn’t grow under his feet, 34-year old Melbourne lad Simon Chesterman is taking up the position of director of the New York University School of Law’s Singapore Programme. Since it’ll grant full NYU … Continue reading

Posted in Law, Universities | 3 Comments

Steve Irwin

I’ve just heard that Steve Irwin has been killed by a stingray. I never got to meet the bloke, but I enjoyed watching him on TV, and always had a soft spot for him since my grandmother told me about a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Teacher Talk

Back in May, I arranged to present September seminars at the University of NSW and the University of Sydney. What I didn’t check was to make sure they were spaced out a bit. So in a boon to Qantas, I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Travel | Comments Off on Teacher Talk

Fair Merit Pay Schemes, Part I

I was doing an interview this morning on teachers, and we got on to the question of how a fair merit pay scheme might work. It occurred to me that I should perhaps post a few examples over the coming weeks. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 10 Comments

Wrong call?

“it is a marvellous opportunity for more of the mums and dads of Australia to buy shares in this great enterprise” John Howard on the T2 sale, 1999 Let’s go what’s happened since then. T2 offer price $7.40 ($4.50 up … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 2 Comments

You can't make a poll from a probability

Stanford’s Simon Jackman points out that while you can easily convert polls into probabilities, the reverse ain’t so easy. Richard Farmer on writes: Newspoll this week had a two-party preferred prediction of Labor 58% to 42% for non-Labor. The Crikey … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 2 Comments


I wrote a couple of years ago about the arms race on Australian roads, arguing that: From the perspective of their occupants, four-wheel-drives helped save lives. For every 1000 crashes they were involved in, 32 drivers of four-wheel drives were … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 2 Comments