Monthly Archives: September 2007

Gong for Gans

My frequent coauthor Joshua Gans has received an award for the best young economist in Australia. Last December, Joshua noted that he had just published his 100th paper. Given that the Economic Society award only goes to those aged under 40, … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Universities | 2 Comments

Economic Exposition

For the last decade or two, ANU and the University of Western Australia have been running a conference for PhD students. As well as being a chance for final-year PhD students to present their work, it’s the closest thing that … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | 1 Comment

Shameless self-promotion

I am, apparently, one of the 100 blogs that every professional investor should read. From Dani Rodrik’s blog, I discover that among his list of 106 economist blogs, mine ranks 52nd. And within that group, I’m apparently 44th in terms of paper citations. … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | 3 Comments

When no news is good news

I’d been worried that spending the past two weeks out of Australia would mean missing a thrilling few opening weeks of the election campaign. But as far as I can tell from reading the news online, it’s been about the … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Media | 2 Comments

How's your school?

Kirsten Storry has a terrific oped in the Newcastle Herald (republished in Online Opinion). It concludes with her three-point wishlist regarding test scores: If the Australian Government or Opposition want to score a few points with information-starved parents in their … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics of Education | 17 Comments

Economics & Psychology

For anyone researching or teaching in the field of behavioural economics, Stefano DellaVigna has written the nicest summary paper of the literature that I’ve yet seen.

Posted in From the Frontiers | 3 Comments

Killer Economics Ideas

In the theme of economic imperialism, David Uren alerts me to this new paper from boundary-pushing Swiss economist Bruno Frey. The current draft is a bit terse (it probably needs to be 2-3 times as long to make its points fully), … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 2 Comments

A Taste of ANU Economics Scholarships

The Economics Program in the Research School of Social Sciences is offering a handful of scholarships for research-inclined Honours and Masters students to attend forthcoming economics conferences at the Australian National University (we’ve called them “A Taste of ANU Economics”). … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Universities | Comments Off on A Taste of ANU Economics Scholarships

Do economists make good ambassadors?

The Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program is looking for economists. Details over the fold. In terms of world social welfare, there’s probably no better place for young economists to be devoting their energies than international development, so if you’re … Continue reading

Posted in Jobs, Trade & Development | 4 Comments


Another terrific paper from Steven Levitt – this one coauthored with Roland Fryer, one of America’s top young economists. They’ve turned their attention to the economics of the KKK. Hatred and Profits: Getting Under the Hood of the Ku Klux Klan … Continue reading

Posted in Social Capital, US Politics | 1 Comment

Conversations about Capitalism

In the latest issue of Reason Magazine, economist Deirdre McCloskey has a beautifully-penned article about Galbraith, Schumpeter, economics and rhetoric. Definitely worth a read, particularly the parts about Galbraith’s zingers and Schumpeter’s three great ambitions.

Posted in Economics Generally, What I'm Reading | 8 Comments

Family Ties

A casual comment in an email from my coauthor Christine Neill made me realise that I’d forgotten to blog on this – very cool – paper. My favourite summary statistic is that 9% of US Congressional representatives have close relatives who also … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 5 Comments

Good Times

The New York Times, a newspaper that some of us rather like, has just announced that it’s bringing down its paywall. As the article states: In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 11 Comments

Delaying Has Costs Too

Andrew Norton today posts on the impact of delaying the start of university by a year. As he points out, we don’t have very good evidence on the causal impact, but it looks like taking a gap year may lead … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Universities | 13 Comments

The Impact of Finding God Early

Chris Hitchens and Richard Dawkins may not like it, but the findings from a new paper on the impact of a religious childhood sound pretty reasonable to me.   The Role of Religious and Social Organizations in the Lives of Disadvantaged … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 18 Comments

Open Thread

I’m flying to the UK today, and may not be posting for a few days. So consider this an open thread, to discuss any issues of economics, politics or pop culture that take your fancy.

Posted in Blogging | 13 Comments

Of Media Tarts and Maternity Leave

Gweneth today took Sebastian along to the Democrats and Greens’ launch of their paid maternity leave policy.* Turned out there were only a handful of babies in the room. While the other babies were featured on various news outlets,  Sebastian … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Television | 5 Comments

Occupational hazards

Must get out of the habit of watching Today Tonight with a laptop. Their reporter (in a very serious voice): The trouble is, no-one knows how many people are working three or more jobs. Me: Really? Surely we could look at … Continue reading

Posted in Television | 2 Comments

Three Ways to Report an Election

In my AFR piece today, I make a new case for following betting markets instead of polls – they’re more boring, so they leave more room for talking about ideas.

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments


I’ve been thinking recently about the different ways that bloggers respond to ideas they disagree with. What’s prompted the cogitation is two experiences with fellow bloggers over the past month. In late-August, after I posted on conflicts of interest, Andrew … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | 7 Comments

Extolling RSSS

My college at ANU has started a thing called “Controversy Corner”. The first contribution made some rather unflattering comments about the Research School of Social Sciences, in which I’m located. I’m rather proud of RSSS, so it seemed a good … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 5 Comments

Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it

Each day for the last three years, I’ve been spending a minute ‘clearing out the trash’ by deleting spam comments that get past my Akismet spam filter. The filter catches about a thousand a day, but a handful typically get past … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging | Comments Off on Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it

Ministers blow up, odds blow out

Regular commenter Sinclair Davidson just emailed to tell me that the reports of Cabinet infighting seems to have been had a big effect on the betting markets. For example, Portlandbet last week had John Howard a 39% chance to lose Bennelong. … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 4 Comments

Flight of the B's

First, it was Bracks in Victoria handing over to Brumby. Now in Queensland, Beattie has given the reins to Bligh. I’ve only met Beattie once, but he struck me as somehow a characteristic Queenslander – straight-talking, enthusiastic, and decent. We … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 1 Comment


My colleague Jack Pezzey, at the Fenner School of Economics and Society, is advertising generous PhD scholarships in environmental economics, and also looking for a post-doc to work on the economics of greenhouse gas control.

Posted in Jobs, Universities | Comments Off on Environomics

Who's Trading Illegal Arms?

Knowing which companies are doing dodgy deals has always been the stuff of thriller movies. Now, Stefano DellaVigna and Eliana La Ferrara think they’ve come up with an economists’ trick – if you want to know who’s selling weapons to … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 4 Comments

Hot date?

According to a press release, Sportingbet has temporarily suspended betting on the election date, following rumours that the election might be called today. Before closing off the market, its latest odds were: October 20th 5.00     October 27th 3.75     November 3rd … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 2 Comments


For any political tragics who are mildly curious as to precisely what books Kevin Rudd bought George Bush yesterday, an insider tells me that they were: David Day’s biography of John Curtin (I had previously thought that it might have … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 3 Comments

In praise of the ABC

There are many things I love about the US media. When it comes to newspapers, theirs are unquestionably the best in the world – led by the New York Times, and followed at some distance by the WSJ, WaPo, LA … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 29 Comments

Undergraduate Advice

I just received a copy of the report from the Australian Davos Connection’s 2007 Future Summit. As well as serious-looking photos of prominent Australian bloggers, it contained a neat quote from an Australian expatriate - Harvard Business School Professor Jonathan West. … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 9 Comments