Monthly Archives: April 2009

Do Smart Parents Raise Smart Kids?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes. But we might also be interested in magnitudes. A new paper using German data finds a parent-child test score correlation of 0.45, which is bigger than the intergenerational earnings correlation in Germany (about 0.2, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 5 Comments

Will more uni funding pay for itself?

Joshua Gans’ Centre for Ideas and the Economy has something called ‘IdeaCHECKs’, in which he commissions academics to write reviews of public reports. I’ve just done my first, discussing a report by KPMG-Econtech for Universities Australia on the benefits of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Universities | Comments Off on Will more uni funding pay for itself?

Who wants more rungs on the ladder of opportunity?

For anyone interested in understanding attitudes about redistribution, a new working paper from Alberto Alesina and Paola Giuliano titled Preferences for Redistribution is a must-read. Some snippets. We start our analysis by examining the individual determinants of preferences for redistribution … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Who wants more rungs on the ladder of opportunity?

Iraqi bleg

Loyal reader Alistair Campbell, who helped run the Youth Initiative for Progress in Iraq conference last year, is looking for financial and in-kind support to get an Iraqi team to the 2010 World Schools Debating Championship. More details over the … Continue reading

Posted in Iraq, Trade & Development | Comments Off on Iraqi bleg

Random Links

Several interesting studies/papers on randomised trials have come out lately. If time permits, I may come back to comment on them, but for now, I’ll just post the links for those who are interested in the topic: Critiques of randomised … Continue reading

Posted in Randomisation | 2 Comments

Garden State Events

I’m giving a couple of talks at Melbourne University over the coming weeks. Details below. Tue 28 April, 3.15 to 4.30pm, Room 427 Economics and Commerce building, ‘Are Racial and Ethnic Minorities Disadvantaged in Australia? Evidence From Three Field Experiments’ … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events | 2 Comments

Make me rigorous and scientific, but not yet

The government’s response to the 2020 summit went public yesterday. My one idea was that we should have more randomised trials in education. I was chuffed to see that the idea made it into the document, but somewhat perplexed by … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 3 Comments

When Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

My oped today is on the role of information in tax reform. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Behavioural Economics, Tax | 6 Comments

Speaking of Nudges

There’s been quite a bit of interest in how people make choices in the academic literature (eg. Nudge, The Other Invisible Hand), and in policy circles in other countries (eg. UK, US). But to date I haven’t seen much of … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioural Economics | 1 Comment

Will the downturn have intergenerational consequences?

From Ulrike Malmendier and Stefan Nagel: Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk-Taking? We investigate whether individuals’ experiences of macro-economic outcomes have long-term effects on their risk attitudes, as often suggested for the generation that experienced the Great Depression. Using … Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Macroeconomics | 2 Comments

Many Happy Returns

Kudos to the Australian Taxation Office, who have just released a 1% sample of Australian taxpayers for the use of researchers. One of the reasons that empirical public finance has been comparatively weak in Australia is the paucity of good … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 3 Comments

Petrol Taxes and Global Warming

We have good evidence that petrol consumption responds to prices, but according to new research from the University of Michigan, the impact of petrol taxes on carbon emissions is pretty small. Here’s the abstract: Estimating the Effect of a Gasoline … Continue reading

Posted in Environmental Economics | 3 Comments

It's Captain Feathersword!

Am I the only one who is finding Thai politics hard to take seriously? According to the latest reports: About 2,000 red-shirted protesters loyal to the exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra marched through the convention centre… Many analysts and observers … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Beating the Kindy Cutoff

Joshua Gans and I have a few papers showing that the timing of births responds to financial incentives, lucky dates, inauspicious dates, and even obstetricians’ conferences. But perhaps we should be relieved to know that parents aren’t perfectly strategic. Suburban … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family | 5 Comments


Departmental rankings are notoriously volatile. Still, I can’t resist noting that according to the March 2009 rankings in RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), my group – the economics program in the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU – is … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | Comments Off on Bloasting


I did a little interview with Leigh Sales on Lateline last night, speaking about interest rates, forecasting today’s atrocious unemployment numbers, discussing the impact of recessions on mortality (putting the late into Lateline?), and asserting that studying economics is more … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Social Mobility and Statistical Immobility

(Crossposted to Core Economics) I typically find that there’s a great benefit in posting draft papers online, and getting feedback before the paper finally goes to the journal. But I’m also learning about possible disadvantages. In 2006, I wrote what … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 5 Comments

Good news for ed data wonks

One small step for researcher access might lead to some giant leaps in what we know about schools. In today’s Canberra Times, Emma McDonald writes: The ACT will be the first state or territory to use national literacy and numeracy … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Good news for ed data wonks

What if taxpayers don’t know everything?

(Crossposted at Core Economics) One of the most interesting fields in public economics these days is behavioural public finance, which starts from the idea that maybe (just maybe) our standard assumption that every taxpayer has perfect information about the tax … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 1 Comment

Can a Randomly Delivered Paper Make you Scared of Tigers?

One of my PhD students, Dinuk Jayasuriya, is giving an interesting seminar next week. All welcome. Time & Date: 9.30 – 11.00am, Friday, 17 April Location: Coombs Building, Seminar Room B Speaker: Dinuk Jayasuriya Topic: “A Randomized Study Investigating State-Run … Continue reading

Posted in Media, Trade & Development | Comments Off on Can a Randomly Delivered Paper Make you Scared of Tigers?

Healthy living in hard times

My oped today is on the impact of a downturn on health. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Health economics | 1 Comment

Permissiveness as Fiscal Stimulus

Jeff Ely and Tyler Cowen think that a useful economic stimulus could be provided to the US economy by repealing prohibitions on trade with Cuba, immigration, drugs, prostitution, gambling and guns. Some of these look like no-brainers (eg. particularly trade … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Law | 1 Comment


My academic home, the Research School of Social Sciences, is offering some new PhD stipend scholarships. Details over the fold.

Posted in Universities | 1 Comment

Stressed Out on Struggle Street

From this week’s Economist, some evidence that stress might help explain intergenerational cycles of poverty. The crucial breakthrough was made three years ago, when Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania showed that the working memories of children who have … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Inequality | 6 Comments

Buying education data

It seems Australia isn’t the only jurisdiction where the federal government is offering education money to states that is conditional on school-level reporting. According to a new report, US Education Secretary (and former Australian basketballer) Arne Duncan is doing the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment