Monthly Archives: June 2008

Better to let 9x9x9 innocent numbers go free?

News that a million-dollar drug trial has been aborted because the jurors were playing Sudoku makes Steven Landsburg’s proposed incentive system suddenly look rather attractive. Weighing evidence is a difficult job. It requires a lot of attention and a lot of energy. … Continue reading

Posted in Law | 13 Comments

Local lads

My father – presently in Malaysia – emails an observation about the US Presidential race. This must be the very first US election where the candidates of both major political parties each spent some years living in Southeast Asia, our … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

Jobs Talk '08

So it looks like Australia will have the iPhone 2.0 within a month or two. If you believe the NYT, it will be at the same price as Americans. If you believe the SMH, it could cost Australians a lot … Continue reading

Posted in Web/Tech | 1 Comment

A question of Vice

Who will be Obama’s running mate? According to Intrade, Clinton is the favourite, with a 24% chance. Next in line is Virginia Senator Jim Webb (19%) and Bill Richardson (8%). And reflecting the huge degree of uncertainty in such a pick, … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 2 Comments

Message to the Coalition: people respond to incentives

I was listening the other day to Tony Abbott claiming that the price elasticity of petrol is zero (Joshua Gans quotes the Coalition’s Greg Hunt making the same claim). It was perhaps the first time that I had heard a … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Environmental Economics | 17 Comments

Obama in St Paul

If you haven’t yet seen it, I can highly recommend watching Obama’s victory speech in St Paul, Minnesota (link above, transcript here). Behind his Philadelphia race speech, I think it’s the best of his career. (Clinton’s concession speech yesterday was also pretty good, though … Continue reading

Posted in US Politics | 4 Comments


So it’s Obama vs McCain for the White House. I’ve been an Obamaphile for a couple of years now, but in terms of pure theatre, I’m also excited about him facing off against McCain, one of the most interesting pollies … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Supporting Adam & Steve Might be a Healthy Decision

Gay marriage is typically debated as a moral issue – but it might also have public health implications. A clever paper by Thomas Dee (forthcoming in the Economic Journal) suggests that countries which permit gay marriage could improve public health. … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family, Health economics | 2 Comments

It's only inflationary if you pay them Australian dollars

As part of its budget cuts, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is scaling back several overseas posts. As the SMH reports it. During the Senate hearings, Mr Chester revealed the department had withdrawn five more diplomatic positions since … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 4 Comments

What's the best way to identify the best?

My AFR oped today is on teacher quality, discussing the various ways we might identify the best teachers. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Economics of Education | 10 Comments


My friend Carolyn Hough is the head of Google’s public policy and government affairs team for Australia and New Zealand. She is looking for a policy analyst (aka sidekick). Details here.

Posted in Jobs | Comments Off on Goojob

Cools Doer

I had thought suspected this for some time, but I’d never seen firm evidence. In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early-nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think … Continue reading

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 8 Comments