Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Age of Innovation

For not-so-surprising reasons, I’ve been thinking lately about lifecycles. My AFR op-ed today (partially written with a newborn babe in the crook of my arm) is on age and creativity. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Labour Economics | 8 Comments


My second son (Theodore) entered the world on Friday: 3.6kg and a beautiful button nose. I may be a little less regular in posting this week.

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Educational Catchup Downunder

A wonderfully ambitious paper just published in the new Journal of Human Capital combines school enrollment data and demographic tables to estimate educational attainment rates for 74 countries over the period 1870-2010. Here’s the abstract. The Century of Education (published … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality | 3 Comments

Tax Online

Ken Henry’s tax review held a conference in Melbourne last week. If (like me), you weren’t able to get there, you’ll be glad to see that PDFs of all the papers and powerpoints are now online. Auerbach and Slemrod’s contributions … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Unified but Unequal

Christian Dustmann, Johannes Ludsteck, and Uta Schoenberg have a new paper out in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, dismissing the notion that Germany has stayed pretty equal over recent decades. Here’s their abstract and the key picture: Revisiting the German … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | Comments Off on Unified but Unequal

Understanding the GFC

For anyone wanting a brief rundown on why the Global Financial Crisis happened, I can highly recommend this speech to the Sydney Institute by David Gruen, head of the macro division of the Australian Treasury. David has 13 causes of … Continue reading

Posted in Macroeconomics | 5 Comments

How much should bus tickets cost?

Thinking about optimal public transport subsidies is a tricky business, since there are so many factors to be taken into account. Trains and buses are less polluting and cause less congestion, but they’re also slower and less direct. But according … Continue reading

Posted in Urban Economics | 2 Comments

Discrimination study

Alison Booth, Elena Varganova and I have just released a study comprising three experiments to gauge racial and ethnic discrimination in Australia. Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence From Three Experiments Alison Booth, Andrew Leigh & … Continue reading

Posted in Labour Economics | 20 Comments

Teachers Talk

The OECD’s new TALIS teacher survey looks to have some interesting findings. Press release over the fold. (HT: Nicholas Gruen)

Posted in Economics of Education | 3 Comments

Girls at single-sex schools are more competitive

I’m slow in posting about this, but my colleague Alison Booth is doing some very interesting research on single-sex schooling. From a recent writeup in the Age: Going to a single-sex school makes teenage girls more competitive than if they … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment

Putting up pollies’ pay?

My oped today is on politicians’ pay, reviewing the evidence on whether higher pay (a) gets better-quality people to run for office, and (b) improves the performance of legislators once they’re in office. Although the empirical findings aren’t crystal-clear, the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Inequality Datasets

My former graduate school classmate, sociologist Andrew Clarkwest, has produced a nice set of inequality measures by race for each US state, using the 1970-2000 census. I offered to host them on my website, which prompted me to also draw … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality | 3 Comments

How far does the apple fall from the tree?

I’m thinking about running an ANU conference on intergenerational mobility in December. If anyone in Australia is doing economics or sociology research on this topic (or knows of someone who is), please email me: andrew.leigh asperand

Posted in Coming Events | 1 Comment

Say aaargh

I’ve always been interested in the dentists’ decision to support water fluoridation – one of the few examples of medicos campaigning for a policy change that really hurt their economic interests (unlike, for example, the Australian Medical Association, which among … Continue reading

Posted in Health economics, Labour Economics | 2 Comments

Fresh, frank, fearless and free

In the latest Melbourne Institute newsletter, Director Stephen Sedgwick highlights the strengths and weaknesses of new education data arrangements: Recent COAG reforms, however, present an opportunity to significantly improve access by interested researchers to quality data. New national testing arrangements … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment

ESOPs Wane

In writing my oped last week on employee share ownership, I tried to check the most recent figure with the ABS. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in their publication, and they couldn’t supply it to me quickly, so I went with the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

What I’m reading

A trip to Sweden at the end of May turned out to be a good way to catch up on some overdue books. A few recommendations: Ben McNeil, The Clean Industrial Revolution: a young Australian scientist’s take on how Australia … Continue reading

Posted in What I'm Reading | Comments Off on What I’m reading

What happens to the Australian labour market in recessions?

Jeff Borland has a splendid article (gated, sorry) in the latest Australian Economic Review on what happens to the labour market in recessions. From it, I learned: 1. The impact across industries differs greatly. In past recessions, employment tends to … Continue reading

Posted in Labour Economics | Comments Off on What happens to the Australian labour market in recessions?

More on body size

Michael Kortt and I have a descriptive paper in the 4th HILDA statistical report (pp180-187), discussing correlates of body size among Australian adults. A few snippets: Comparing across states and territories, we find relatively few systematic differences for men. However, … Continue reading

Posted in Labour Economics | 1 Comment

Was there an original Hawthorne effect?

…apparently not, if Levitt & List are to be believed. The abstract: Was there Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments (gated-sorry) Steven Levitt & John List The “Hawthorne effect,” a concept … Continue reading

Posted in Econometrics, Health economics | Comments Off on Was there an original Hawthorne effect?

Don’t fret the debt

I’m one of 21 authors (signatories?) of a Nicholas Gruen-instigated opinion piece in today’s AFR, arguing that modest levels of government debt are a perfectly appropriate response to a major downturn. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Macroeconomics | 12 Comments

A Share of the Action?

My oped today is on employee share ownership, drawing on a series of papers by Richard Freeman and his band of coauthors. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Labour Economics | 1 Comment

Free Trade Helps Families and Kids

Simon Crean has today released a report from the CIE showing that Australian families are $3900 a year better off thanks to trade liberalisation over the past couple of decades. And in a reminder of barriers yet to fall, the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Trade & Development | 3 Comments