Monthly Archives: April 2008

Success has many parents…

Last week, I wrote up the 2020 summit idea of providing a HECS discount in exchange for volunteering in a disadvantaged community. In today’s Higher Ed section of the Australian, Andrew Darbyshire claims credit for the notion. I don’t doubt that … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Social Capital | 2 Comments

Australians just say no

Harry Clarke, the only economist in the country who consistently blogs on drugs (sorry Harry, couldn’t resist) posts on Australian drug use trends. It’s a fascinating read. Frankly, I’m a little surprised that usage of most drugs seems to be … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 7 Comments

Videminar or Semivid?

Economics RSSS will be hosting our first video seminar tomorrow (Tue 29th), featuring John Quiggin. It will take place in the Baume Theatre in ANU’s Peter Baume Building, from 1-2pm. Frustratingly, the seminar clashes with a prior engagement of mine (I’m speaking at the … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | 6 Comments

Wanted: Econ PhD students

My economics group – in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University – is seeking PhD students. Here’s a one-page flyer, and a more detailed document about our program.

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on Wanted: Econ PhD students

Strict deadlines and public humiliation

My co-author Bruce Chapman has substantial administrative responsibilities, which are invariably urgent, and therefore tend to crowd out research. Our paper requires some relatively minor edits before going out to a journal, and the necessary changes are up his alley. So he emails … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | 7 Comments

Randomised trials… in education

My friend and coauthor Joshua Gans has two blogs. When he’s not blogging about new innovations in economics on Core Econ, he’s offering new insights on parenting at Game Theorist (which has led to a book, Parentonomics, forthcoming in August 2008). One of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, From the Frontiers | Comments Off on Randomised trials… in education

LEW @ QUT in 2009

I’ve spent the last couple of days at the Australasian Labour Econometrics Workshop, which I co-organised with my ANU colleague Bob Breunig. Here’s the program, if anyone is interested. We don’t have the papers up on a website, but you … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | 4 Comments

Does Affirmative Action Work?

Marianne Bertrand, Rema Hanna, Sendhil Mullainathan present new evidence on the impact of affirmative action in university admissions – this time not from racial AA in the US, but caste AA in India. They find a neat equity-efficiency tradeoff, illustrating the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 7 Comments

Don't Just Start Early – Start With the Poor

Writing today in Eureka Street, Daniel Donahoo makes a key point about the difference between universal and targeted early childhood intervention. Key quote: At the centre of the discussion is the name Dr James Heckman. Heckman was the Nobel Laureate for … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 3 Comments

Women in Economics

My economics group (the Economics Program in the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU) has a story up on the website this week, on the share of professors who are women. The good news is that the answer is … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 7 Comments

Summit Roundup

My AFR oped today is on the 2020 summit. Full text below (and remember – contributors don’t write their own headlines).

Posted in Australian Politics | 8 Comments

False Positives

I just recovered a dozen non-spam comments from Akismet. Apologies to those whose comments were caught, and thanks to Matt C for alerting me to the problem. If it recurs, please drop me an email.

Posted in Blogging | Comments Off on False Positives

First Author Conditions

The latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) carries some extraordinary stories of drug companies writing research papers, and then offering to add academics as coauthors – without requiring the academics to do any work on … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Universities | 1 Comment

Save the Stats

Just to echo what other economists have already said, the mooted cuts to the Australian Bureau of Statistics budget seem to me a false economy. As economist Barry Hughes told SMH journalist Jessica Irvine: This is a very bizarre time to … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 16 Comments


In the weekend AFR, Dierdre Macken has an article on the steady expansion of economic research into non-traditional areas (or as she calls the phenomenon, ‘Everythingonomics’). The article profiles Justin Wolfers, Tim Harford, and yours truly; and also has some commentary from Australian … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Productive in Pink

My AFR oped tomorrow is on the summit. I’ll post it in the morning, but here are a few quick observations. A little to my surprise, I found talkfest 2008 to be a very worthwhile exercise. An exercise like this … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 5 Comments

Globalisation and the Great Divergence

Jeff Williamson, the man who taught me economic history, is 73 and still researching as actively as ever (his CV lists his first published paper as 1957). On Wednesday the 23rd, Jeff is speaking on the topic of ‘the great divergence’. … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | Comments Off on Globalisation and the Great Divergence

Echo Chambers

A great oped from Nicholas Kristof talks about the problems of echo-chambers in the blogosphere.  This resistance to information that doesn’t mesh with our preconceived beliefs afflicts both liberals and conservatives, but a raft of studies shows that it is a … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Media | 19 Comments

More 2020 ideas

Former ACER researcher Molly de Lemos just emailed me her 2020 ideas for the education/productivity stream. They’re over the fold. And a regular commenter also drew my attention to the submission from the Catholic Social Service and Justice Agencies, which … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 2 Comments

Sportsplay journalism

I just took a call from an Australian political journalist whose work I’ve admired since the 1980s. The topic of this journalist’s story for tomorrow’s paper: the politics of the 2020 summit. I did something I’ve never done before, and … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 6 Comments

Money may not buy love, but it can buy happiness.

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have a new paper out that debunks the Easterlin Paradox. It’s a classic Stevenson-Wolfers style “throw all the data we can find at the problem” paper, and it concludes that (a) rich people are happier than … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 12 Comments

It’s the environment, stupid

ANU has today released the results of our first ‘ANU Governance Poll’. Full results are on the poll website, but here are a few of my favourite facts: The environment has shot up the rankings. The graph below shows the … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 9 Comments

After Midnight

My wife is American,  and we’ve often commented that we’re glad that she could give birth in Australia (where 1-week hospital stays are quite common) rather than the US (where the norm is more like 2-3 days). But a new NBER … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics | 6 Comments

Policy-Talkin' Macroeconomists

Can anyone suggest academics who might enjoy speaking to the Australian media about macroeconomics? I tend to decline interviews on this topic, but I’d like to be able to direct journalists to other academic economists. Feel free to nominate others … Continue reading

Posted in Media | 7 Comments

Imagining Australia – Rethinking Social Policy

Today brings the sixth and final bunch of Imagining Australia ideas: focusing on inequality and social policy. While Australia has long prided itself as a fair, just, and egalitarian nation, the reality is that our social fabric is not what it … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 14 Comments


One more summit idea, this one from Alan Wu, who is in the governance stream. The Australia Commitments Like the Millennium Development Goals, but for Australia I believe that governments should be optimistic and ambitious – they should encourage and … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 9 Comments

Imagining Australia – the Economy

Today brings the penultimate tranche of Imagining Australia ideas – these ones on growth and the economy. We envisage a dynamic and innovative Australia, with a sustainable economy to underpin the high standard of living enjoyed by all Australians. We explain … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 7 Comments

Imagining Australia – Nation Building

Here’s a few Imagining Australia ideas on nation-building. Not so much the bricks-and-mortar kind; more of the bodies-and-minds stuff. We note that while nation-building has been an integral part of the Australian story, the nation-building spirit is largely absent from … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Another Colombo?

Gregory Nelson, a 2020 participant in the national security stream, has sent me his idea that he thought might interest people. He’s happy to read comments below, or for people to email him at gregnelson {AT} The 1951 Colombo … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 8 Comments

Imagining Australia – Strengthening Democracy

A few ideas on strengthening Australian democracy, from Imagining Australia. We believe that Australia needs to rekindle its spirit of democratic innovation and experimentation. We present proposals to reform our democratic institutions and processes to encourage greater public participation, improve the … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 12 Comments