Monthly Archives: June 2007


On the way back from my office to my apartment, I came across a line of people sitting on the sidewalk. Some reading, some playing checkers, some talking on cellphones, etc. Curious, I followed the line to the end of … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 7 Comments


I’ve just arrived in the city so good they named it twice, where I’ll be visiting New York University for a month. With a four month old son, we approached the Australia-US flight with some trepidation. But as it turned out, he … Continue reading

Posted in Travel | 5 Comments

Rural Futures

On July 20-21, some of my more ethnographic colleagues are running an event on the topical topic of ‘Rural Futures in Developed Countries’. Details over the fold.

Posted in Coming Events | Comments Off on Rural Futures

What I've been reading

Murray Goot and Tim Rowse’s Divided Nation: Indigenous Australians in Australian Political Culture. Definitely the go-to book for anyone wanting to know what Australians think about Indigenous policy. Two facts that were new to me are that in 1965, 52% of Perth … Continue reading

Posted in What I'm Reading | 1 Comment

A Crisis, Definitely a Crisis

My friend Justin Wolfers emails an observation on the Indigenous policy initiative. I was just looking at the actual report that led to Howard’s actions with the aboriginal communities.  As I understand it, he is pushing these new policies based … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous Policy | 25 Comments

Censoring Centrefolds

While most of the recent commentary has been on the federal government’s health checks and alcohol bans, one of the more curious aspects is the pornography ban. So far as I know, there’s no convincing experimental evidence on the question of … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous Policy | 10 Comments

The performance isn't over till the thin man sings

In the latest issue of the Australian Education Union journal, research officer John Graham (who I knew quite well from NSW politics, funnily enough) has decided that it’s better to play the man than the ball. After discussing two of my … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 6 Comments

Fair Merit Pay Schemes, Part VI

Some neat new evidence from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where they’ve just carried out a randomised field experiment on teacher merit pay. Teacher Incentives in Developing Countries: Experimental Evidence from India Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman Performance pay … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 4 Comments

Choice, Information, and Charming Featherheads

US Edwonk Chester Finn visited Australia recently. Here are a few snippets from his letter from Oz. On one key issue, however, the parties are converging: Both now favor some sort of national academic standards, tests, and curriculum. (See here.) … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 3 Comments

Howard's 18th Amendment

According to today’s press: Mr Howard said the Government’s intention was to “introduce widespread alcohol restrictions on Northern Territory Aboriginal land for six months”. The government is clearly right in noting that alcohol is a major contributor to Indigenous disadvantage. … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous Policy | 15 Comments

The formula for success?

Economists love technological explanations – for just about everything. Gender Roles and Technological Progress Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti Until the early decades of the 20th century, women spent more than 60% of their prime-age years either pregnant or nursing.  Since … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 19 Comments

The Next Ross Perot?

Last week I wrote about the congestion fee proposed by Republican mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg. Well, now it’s Independent Michael Bloomberg. Doubtless plenty of Democrats are keen to fuel his ambitions to be President Bloomberg, though the prospect of … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 4 Comments

Why bank economists get all the good TV slots

I mentioned a few weeks ago the essay “Life Among the Econ”. In the latest issue of Economic Papers, Alex Millmow and Jerry Courvisanos take up the theme, arguing that Australian academic economists should be less reticent when it comes … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Media | 8 Comments

A plethora of econ talks

The RSSS Economics seminar schedule for June-July is over the fold.

Posted in Coming Events, Economics Generally | Comments Off on A plethora of econ talks

It's the genocide, stupid

Aussie* Bec Hamilton has an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, showing that young Americans regard Darfur as one of the most important foreign policy issues. at 18 percent. Darfur had more than three times the support found for negotiating peace … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment

Fair Merit Pay Schemes, Part V

The NYT has a interesting rundown on the state of merit pay in US schools: For years, the unionized teaching profession opposed few ideas more vehemently than merit pay, but those objections appear to be eroding as school districts in … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Fair Merit Pay Schemes, Part V

Perhaps Gore Crossed the Atlantic?

In an ad placed by the Department of Trade and Industry in the latest issue of the Economist, Britain claims to have invented (among other things) the Internet. Can anyone vouch for this? (On an unrelated note, I’d advise against … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 6 Comments

Diversity and Trust

Robert Putnam has published his first piece of research in his project on the negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social capital. This has been a long-running research agenda for Putnam (I worked for him on it as a research … Continue reading

Posted in Social Capital | 2 Comments

Behind the Bench

I blogged last year about the fact that too few judicial associateships are publicly advertised. A reader helpfully emails to let me know that Western Australia’s Supreme Court judges are now looking for associates for next year. Details here. Meanwhile, … Continue reading

Posted in Law | Comments Off on Behind the Bench

Taking Economics from the Armchair to the Bedroom

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Steven Landsburg’s The Armchair Economist (perhaps because it was more than a decade old when I read it last year). But his new book (More Sex Is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics) … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on Taking Economics from the Armchair to the Bedroom

Walking Off into the Sunset

According to recent reports*, racewalking looks like being cut from the Commonwealth Games program permanently. I think this would be a pity if it happened. I spent most of my highschool evenings training as a racewalker. Indeed, the one national medal … Continue reading

Posted in Sport | 6 Comments

The United Brotherhood of Howard Supporters

So the thing that I still can’t work out with the ACTU’s current campaign against the Howard Government is: what do the 33% of unionists who voted for John Howard in 2004 think about it? It’s true that organisations sometimes … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 8 Comments

Red Faces, Red Cents, and Red Ken

I have a piece in today’s AFR on the economics and politics of congestion fees. Full text over the fold. (There’s a slight irony in the timing of this piece. I normally cycle to work, but because of the rain … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Travel | 18 Comments

Org. Ec.

Andrew Wait at Sydney University is holding a workshop on Organization Economics on 27 July. The paper deadline is 25 June. Details here.

Posted in Coming Events | Comments Off on Org. Ec.

The Y chromosome tax

Alberto Alesina and Andrea Ichino have a simple proposal: men and women should face different tax rates. Here is a policy proposal that should make the two camps agree: reduce income taxes on women and increase, by less, income taxes … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 23 Comments

Monash Jobs

The Department of Economics at Monash University is hiring two junior faculty, with preference given to people who do macro, international economics or experimental economics. Full job ad over the fold.

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Monash Jobs

College for Everyone?

The Democratic Presidential candidates faced off in New Hampshire last week. It’s an entertaining debate if you have the time to watch it. But there were also some snippets about education that I thought neatly illustrated the differences in educational … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics of Education, US Politics | 2 Comments

War Against Poverty II

The NYT magazine has a great profile of John Edwards, titled ‘The Poverty Platform’. A few snippets: About a month after the 2004 election, Edwards met with his most loyal advisers at his cluttered home on P Street in Georgetown. … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment

No HECS, thanks – we're Americans

Two prominent Democrats – Evan Bayh and Rahm Emmanuel – have introduced legislation to reform higher education student subsidies. So far as I can tell, their proposal offers some administrative simplicity, but not much in the way of real reform. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, US Politics | 11 Comments

Odds and Ends

In the most recent issue of The Melbourne Review, Justin Wolfers and I have a piece on prediction markets – discussing how they can and might operate in various contexts. An abridged version also ran in the Review section of today’s AFR.

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment