Monthly Archives: December 2006

Open thread

I’ve just returned from a trip away, and am moving house tomorrow, so apologies for the brief blog hiatus. In the meantime, here’s an open thread – do with it as you will.

Posted in Blogging | 7 Comments

Middle Class Welfare

Andrew Norton has a neat piece in the latest issue of Policy Magazine on “The Rise of Big Government Conservatism“, along with some really interesting graphs showing the spending patterns of the Howard Government. My favourite chart is below. Of … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 52 Comments

Now there's an idea with a slim chance of success

Glad to see I’m not the only economist putting out silly stories to suit the silly season. According to Brisbane’s newspaper of record, economist Paul Frijters (ex-ANU, now QUT) has called for a ‘fat tax’. Queensland University of Technology’s Paul … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 26 Comments

December's Child

Joshua Gans writes up a cute NYT article on birth patterns. In the US, child tax deductions aren’t pro-rata’ed. In other words, if you’re a parent anytime during the year, you can claim the child tax deduction. So there’s a big incentive … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 1 Comment

Charles 1, Centralisers 0

Every now and then, governments of one political persuasion or another ask themselves the question “why don’t we just let the federal government run Australian schools?”. Economics doesn’t have a clear answer to this. From a theoretical perspective, more centralisation means … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Charles 1, Centralisers 0

Helping professions

Robin Hanson argues that ‘helping professions’ like medicine don’t really help more. Part of his argument goes as follow: 1. You charge a price for your services, so the help they receive is the difference between the value they gain … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

What should we give?

Wondering how much you should give to charity? Peter Singer has some pointers, based on his classic example of how much we should expend to save a child drowning in a shallow pond. In any case, even if we were … Continue reading

Posted in Trade & Development | 13 Comments

The Sun Also Sets

Here’s how the London Sun and the Herald Sun reported the Ashes news. Note that the image is from the back of the London Sun – the loss didn’t even make their front page.

Posted in Sport | 1 Comment

More bewdy than beauty

It’s good to see John Howard isn’t taking beauty research too seriously. Well ladies and gentlemen I’d like to first of all thank Baptist Homes and Ms Heinrich and John Church for allowing us to come to this facility in … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on More bewdy than beauty

Another exam, anyone?

ANU has today announced a new form of alternative admission. Students who receive a UAI of 65 or over can increase their chances of admission by sitting a 150-minute exam on 19 January 2007 (sample questions here – they look pretty … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 5 Comments

Melbourne Medallist

Kudos to Joshua Gans, who has not only racked up his 100th scholarly publication this year, but also received Melbourne University’s prestigious Woodward medal in humanities and social sciences.

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Melbourne Medallist

Did Labor really cut real wages?

Writing in the Australian today, the Prime Minister says: Average real wages have risen by 17.9 per cent since March 1996, compared with a fall of 1.7 per cent under the previous Labor Government. Can anyone find evidence supporting the … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 9 Comments

Global WM'ing is a reality

If you haven’t already, check out Peter Martin’s bio-post on my ANU colleague Warwick McKibbin. And yes, he really is as prolific/productive as advertised.

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on Global WM'ing is a reality

The New Leisure Crisis?

Nathan Lambert has posted a provocative Fabian essay on The New Leisure Crisis, in which he argues that: The idea that these people should ‘contribute to their communities’ is ignorant and Rousseauian. Whatever jobs they might have done are gone. … Continue reading

Posted in Low Wage Work | 33 Comments

Inspiring Teachers

Back in October, I mentioned that ANU has initiated a new award to recognise great school teachers. We’re the first Australian university to do so, but I hope others will follow our example. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 6 Comments

Governor Houdini

My father has just returned from Aceh, where he went to observe their gubernatorial elections. He mentioned something I hadn’t seen in the media. The person who’s likely to be the next governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf, was apparently the … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 1 Comment

How do citizenship tests work?

I’ve found it curious lately to follow the Howard Government’s proposal for an Australian citizenship test. One of the more unusual experiences I had when I was in the US was volunteering to help people study for the American citizenship test. Since … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 7 Comments

Did '96 make a difference?

Simon Chapman, Philip Alpers, Kingsley Agho and Mike Jones have a new paper out today, looking at the effect of the 1996 gun law reforms on mass shootings. Like the Baker and McPhedran paper (whose homicide and suicide findings I blogged on), … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 46 Comments

Stated vs revealed preference

Over at OzPolitics, Bryan Palmer updates the betting odds. While the polls are running Labor’s way, the betting markets reckon that if we ran the 2007 election ten times, Howard would win it six times, and Rudd four times.

Posted in Australian Politics | 1 Comment

Mad props

Congratulations to Larvartus Prodeo and Tim Blair, Crikey blogs of the year. And if you want to vote for best Australian/New Zealand blog (contenders include John Quiggin, Tim Blair, Andrew Bartlett and Andrew Bolt), you’d better go here before Dec 15.

Posted in Blogging | 4 Comments

As ye judge

I guess it had to happen. Andrew Bolt has invited his blog readers to comment on the ‘beauty’ of Amy and myself. Update 1: Sometime this afternoon, Amy’s picture seems to have been replaced by a distorted photo of Moreland … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Blogging | 10 Comments

Trendy names?

My wife and I are expecting our first child in February, so we’ve begun scoping out names. Naturally, you want a euphonious name. It also helps the child’s name works with your last name – which in our case rules out: Sara, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 47 Comments

Coauthor cold-shouldered

I don’t normally just cut and paste from other bloggers’ posts. But sometimes you have to make an exception. TV proves academics wrong, says Devine Posted by Don Arthur on Sunday, December 10, 2006Why bother with scholarly research when you … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 1 Comment

The Missing Link

Over at Club Troppo, Ken Parish has been doing a tri-weekly series of posts (Mon, Wed, Fri) called “The Missing Link” that summarise what he reckons is the best of the Australian independent blogosphere. It’s a cracker read, and you … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | Comments Off on The Missing Link

Bearded beauties

One of the things Amy King and I noted in looking at beauty ratings was how badly candidates with facial hair were rated. So it occurred to me this afternoon that if people really love their beards, maybe they don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 3 Comments


Reporting on our beauty study today, an article in The Australian contained the following paragraph: But despite the study’s finding that good looks can swing elections in marginal seats, politicians – including Mr Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Labor … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 4 Comments

185 million people are waiting for your regression

One for researchers (like me) who get very excited at the thought of large microdata sets. The Minnesota Population Center is pleased to announce the latest expansion of the IPUMS-International data series. In December 2006 we added 16 new samples … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 2 Comments

Beautiful Politicians

My coauthor Amy King (who won a Rhodes scholarship on Tuesday), and I have a new paper out today. Beautiful Politicians Are beautiful politicians more likely to be elected? To test this, we use evidence from Australia, a country in … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 7 Comments

Should charity begin – and end – at home?

On many issues, such as higher education, the Centre for Independent Studies seems to care deeply about facts and data. But on certain topics, it seems only too happy to throw evidence out the window in favour of rhetoric. One … Continue reading

Posted in Thinktanks, Trade & Development | 29 Comments

Strike up the (broad)band

Joshua Gans has released a new discussion paper. Unless someone printed out this blog for you, you’ll probably be interested in what he has to say. I have come to the conclusion that, given the constraints we face today, that … Continue reading

Posted in Web/Tech | 3 Comments