Monthly Archives: May 2008

Leaving Teachers

One of the important issues in the economics of education is understanding which teachers quit the profession. Theory doesn’t give a clear answer on this. On the one hand, underperforming teachers might find the job to be harder, so could … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 2 Comments

Tax Seminar – 11 June

My colleague Kazuki Onji is organising a 3/4-day seminar on taxation and public finance at ANU on 11 June. Full details over the fold.

Posted in Coming Events | 5 Comments

Hip to BE square

The Productivity Commission has just posted on its website the proceedings of a 2007 roundtable on behavioural economics. The most provocative piece is by QUT’s Paul Frijters (who mistakenly gets a UQ designation), discussing Eldar Shafir’s opening keynote. Frijters’ discussion (which … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 11 Comments

Pay for Paperwork?

The Business Council of Australia’s new report on teacher quality has hit the papers yesterday and today, with its recommendations for top teachers to get six-figure salaries. Oddly, this drew a hostile response from John Della Bosca, the NSW Education Minister. … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Ho ritornato

Apologies for the bloghiatus. After a delightful two weeks in Stockholm and Tuscany, I’m back in the ‘berra to a mound of mail, email, and revisions. If it wasn’t for the fact that my building has a superb barista, I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ho ritornato

Making Aid Work

My op-ed last Tuesday was on the effectiveness of foreign aid, looking especially at AusAID’s efforts (via its Office of Development Effectiveness) to ensure that the multi-billion dollar increase in foreign aid over the coming years isn’t wasted. Full text … Continue reading

Posted in Trade & Development | 11 Comments

Does redshirting help?

Any parent with a child born near the school entry age cutoff faces a dilemma – should they let their child start school a little early, or a little late? In the US, the practice of holding one’s child back … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | 24 Comments

Belated Budget Broodings

Sitting on the other side of the world, I’ve felt rather removed from budget commentary, though I’ve found much to agree with in Nicholas Gruen’s called for harsher cuts in middle-class welfare (can we means-test the first homeowners’ grant too?), Andrew … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 14 Comments

Social Science PhD Scholarships

My group – the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU – has a handful of PhD scholarships on offer. Details below. The Research School of Social Science has a number of PhD scholarships available which must be taken up … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Social Science PhD Scholarships

Sweden, en famille

I’m in Stockholm this week, visiting the Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), as the guest of Daniel Waldenstrom. The main purpose of the visit is a workshop on inequality – something Swedes don’t have much of, but seem very keen to … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 5 Comments

What's Middle Australia?

As we draw near to budget time, there has been plenty of talk about what “middle Australia” will get. But where exactly is the middle? To provide a more precise sense, I’ve tabulated the pre-tax annual income distributions for individuals … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 29 Comments


It goes without saying that there is plenty of exploitation in the people-smuggling business. But it’s wrong to think that the smuggler has all the power. A new paper looking at migrants smuggled from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the UK finds … Continue reading

Posted in Trade & Development | 1 Comment

Scrap the Baby Bonus and Raise Teacher Pay?

I popped into the ABC studios on my ride to work today to do a pre-record with Life Matters this morning on why the Baby Bonus is bad policy and should be scrapped. Cycling into work afterwards, a thought occurred to … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | 23 Comments

Why give when you can lend?

My opinion piece today is on the multifarious uses for income contingent loans. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally, Economics of the Family | 8 Comments

Best blog comment of the year…

…comes from Paul Collier, commenting on a Martin Wolf column about the food crisis in the FT. There’s this: The best solution to a problem is often not closely related to its cause (a proposition that that might be recognized in … Continue reading

Posted in Trade & Development | 29 Comments

Window Dressing, or the Real Deal?

My father flew with budget carrier Tiger Airways from Canberra to Melbourne yesterday, and had the exciting experience of having part of his window fall out. Fortunately, it was the rim of the inner casing of the window, rather than … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | Comments Off on Window Dressing, or the Real Deal?

UoC Economist

My colleagues up the road are looking for an economics lecturer. Details over the fold.

Posted in Jobs | Comments Off on UoC Economist

New Techniques in Development Economics Conference

With my colleagues Chikako Yamauchi and Xin Meng, and thanks to the generous support of AusAID, I’m co-organising an ANU conference on New Techniques in Development Economics on 19-20 June. We have a bevvy of international speakers, and the discussion should … Continue reading

Posted in Randomisation, Trade & Development | 1 Comment

Getting housing policy right

Adrian Wong has asked me to remind people about the RBA Essay Competition, open to all economics students presently studying at Australian universities. This year’s topic: Housing Costs and Affordability in Australia Housing is an important component of household expenditure … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Universities | 2 Comments

If it were done, then 'twere well it were done quickly

According to today’s press, the Baby Bonus is about to be means-tested: But yesterday Mr Rudd began the speculation the baby bonus and other forms of so-called middle-class welfare would be means-tested in the budget. “I say people at the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family, Health economics | 3 Comments

Thanks for the votes

At 39, Dalton Conley is the chair of the New York University department of sociology. He’s also one of my favourite sociologists, having written about race, class, health, and biology. His work ranges across lived experience (including Honky, a superbly written … Continue reading

Posted in Universities, US Politics | 1 Comment

What thoughtful rich people call the problem of poverty…

I’ve recently completed two chapters for a forthcoming Oxford University Press Handbook on Economic Inequality. They’re rather long, but anyone who’s interested in a survey of the literature on top incomes, or health and inequality (coauthored with Christopher Jencks and Tim Smeeding), … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 7 Comments

The Australian Institute for Public Policy

According to ABC news, Australia is to get another thinktank, with the Commonwealth and Victorian governments announcing the establishment of the University of Melbourne-based Australian Institute for Public Policy. More players in the ideas space must be a good thing, but … Continue reading

Posted in Thinktanks | 7 Comments