Monthly Archives: February 2008

Blogger flies – open thread

I’m heading up to Brisbane today, and giving a talk at UQ Business School on Friday. In the meantime, feel free to post on the NSW bearpit, William F. Buckley’s passing, why hedge funds don’t like Eddy Groves, or anything … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

So, you want to write an op-ed?

In 2004, I wrote a document called ‘a few tips for opinion piece writers’, and posted them on my website. I gave a talk today to an ANU masterclass on op-ed writing, organised by NYU’s Brooke Kroeger. This afternoon, I … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Summit to talk about

Kevin Rudd has announced the chairs of the 2020 summit panels. Professor Glyn Davis – Chair Dr David Morgan – Future directions for the Australian economy Warwick Smith – Economic infrastructure, the digital economy and the future of our cities … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 7 Comments

The Politics of Hope

My AFR oped today is on Barack Obama and the politics of hope. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 10 Comments

No loss to liberty, but no gain in fraternity

Several studies have looked at the impact of the French 35 hour week law on economic output (my recollection is that most find little impact). Now another study has looked at its effect on social capital. Its conclusion? Not much … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

Backgrounder on prediction markets

The latest issue of Scientific American has an article on prediction markets. Those who know the literature won’t learn that much from it, but it does have a neat history on the Iowa Electronic Markets. My favourite quote: When the … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 1 Comment

And he calls himself an ozeconblogger?

Apologies for not having posted on the two big economic issues of the week in Australian politics: the NAIRU and the Garnaut interim report. Just one of those weeks, I’m afraid. Fortunately, Joshua Gans and John Quiggin (inter alia) have … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Still working it out

In their paper on ‘total work’, Dan Hamermesh and coauthors add up market and household work, and point out that in rich countries on four continents, there is no difference — men and women do the same amount of total work. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 16 Comments

Moving up in America

A new Brookings Institution report highlights the role of education in social mobility. Key finding, from the NYT writeup: The study highlights the powerful role that college can have in helping people change their station in life. Someone born into … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 3 Comments

Sport as Social Policy?

In the context of Indigenous disadvantage, Francis Xavier Holden floats an idea I’ve never heard before. I’ve thought for a long time that one simple big idea that would contribute to Aboriginal wellbeing would be to locate one AFL team … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous Policy, Sport | 15 Comments

Psychological theories, labs, and fields

Steve Levitt and John List, writing about behavioural economics in Science: Most of this research eschews a narrow conception of rationality, while continuing to embrace precisely stated assumptions that produce a constrained optimization problem. A less “scientific,” and in our … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Crikey subs

Club Troppo blogger Nicholas Gruen is looking to secure a group discount on Crikey subscriptions. Anyone who wants to participate in Troppo’s bulk subscription to Crikey! should email me on nicholas at gruenxxx dot com dot au – and remove … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Crikey subs

More on cash 4 class

Today’s Oz has an article by Simon Kearney on one of the ideas I suggested last week – paying Indigenous children to attend school. He neatly links it in to the New York debate over paying poor kids to achieve … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous Policy | 10 Comments

Leap Year Talk

I’m giving a talk at the end of the month at the University of Queensland. Details below. Are State Elections Affected by the National Economy? Evidence from Australia (with Mark McLeish) 10.30am – 12.00pm Friday, 29 February  Room 106, Colin … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Coming Events | 1 Comment

ANU Economics & Democracy Conference

I’m co-organising an ANU conference on Economics and Democracy on 8-10 December. Our call for papers is over the fold.

Posted in Coming Events | Comments Off on ANU Economics & Democracy Conference

Go easy on the local kids, y'hear?

As is well known, Australian students in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be sitting their first nationwide test on 13-15 May 2008. But something I haven’t seen mentioned in the press is that the tests will be marked at … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics of Education | 8 Comments

Five Ideas for the War Cabinet

The ‘war cabinet’ to address Indigenous disadvantage sounds gimmicky on first blush, but may actually play a useful role if it allows the federal government to rely more on the evidence and less on interest groups and the median voter. In … Continue reading

Posted in Indigenous Policy | 23 Comments


I’m flying to Sydney on Wednesday (to give a lunchtime seminar at the RBA), so will unfortunately miss the chance to pop down to Parliament House at 9am and witness the historic parliamentary apology to the Stolen Generations. Any readers … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Indigenous Policy | 1 Comment

2020 Vision

The government’s Australia 2020 summit, scheduled for Passover 2008, now has its own website, where you can nominate or make submissions.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Do neighbourhoods matter?

My AFR oped today looks at social inclusion and neighbourhood disadvantage. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Inequality, Low Wage Work | 14 Comments

Teachers and test score trends

An interesting letter in today’s SMH responds to our study.

Posted in Economics of Education | 22 Comments

When more money doesn't always buy better results

Chris Ryan and I have a new paper out today, looking at trends in the literacy and numeracy of Australian schoolchildren. Here’s the abstract (click on the title to read the full paper): How Has School Productivity Changed in Australia? … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 16 Comments

Of Steroids and Stats

Red Sox fan Justin Wolfers (and his Wharton coauthors) have a carefully-written piece in today’s NYT, looking at whether Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens’ late-career success was statistically atypical.

Posted in Sport | Comments Off on Of Steroids and Stats

Thirtysomething Thinkers

Following in the footsteps of the Economic Society of Australia, which last year instituted a biennial medal for the best Australian economist under the age of 40 (and gave the inaugural prize to Joshua Gans), the Italians have decided to … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on Thirtysomething Thinkers

Getting a bit fat around the middle?

In the AFR earlier this week, La Trobe Professor Don Harding predicted that when Kevin Rudd’s 2020 Summit rolls around, not one of the proposals will entail a spending cut. That won’t be true if they invite Fred Argy. In … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality | 11 Comments

Parochial, US?

When I first visited the US (at age 18), I was struck by how much the mainstream media focused on domestic events. ‘How parochial’, I thought. Not like Australia, where our media covers lots of things happening outside the country. … Continue reading

Posted in Media, US Politics | 8 Comments

It's a coin toss on who'll face McCain

Hard to know whether exit polling numbers have leaked yet (it’s coming up to 4pm East Coast US time), but Intrade has McCain an 89% chance of being Republican nominee, and Clinton and Obama both on 50%. Nailbiting. (FWIW, I’m … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 5 Comments


The terrific Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program is seeking new applicants – closing date 7 March for a July 2008 start. Here’s the blurb they emailed out. I work for Austraining International. We run the Australian Youth Ambassadors for … Continue reading

Posted in Trade & Development | 1 Comment

More on merit pay

Caroline Milburn has a piece in the Age on merit pay, drawing on some recent research by yours truly.

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment

What Do Economists Know About Crime?

According to a new paper by Jeff Miron and coauthors, not very much at all. They focus almost solely on time series variation (hence missing some of the more interesting local variation), but the results are provocative nonetheless.

Posted in Law | 4 Comments