Monthly Archives: December 2009

Shutting gates after bolted horses

I know security measures are typically designed to catch the last terrorism attempt rather than the next one, but this is ridiculous: Transportation authorities began imposing tighter security measures at airports on Saturday and ordered new restrictions governing the activities … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Travel | 1 Comment

Charter 08

The news that Chinese intellectual Liu Xiaobo has been sentenced to 11 years’ jail for helping to draft Charter 08 led me to look back at the document itself, to see what it actually contained. Here are some of the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

ANU’s new Research School of Economics

In ten days’ time, my academic unit will cease to exist. The Economics Program at the Research School of Social Sciences (the original economics group at ANU) is merging with the School of Economics and the Centre for Applied Macroeconomic … Continue reading

Posted in Universities | 4 Comments


My last segment for the year on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program was talking about Joel Waldfogel’s work on the deadweight cost of Christmas (aka Scroogenomics). The podcast should be here in a few hours. For the data wonks, … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family

Merit Pay Effects

For the most part, economics analyses of merit pay programs (with either individual or group incentives) have tended to find positive effects. So it’s interesting to see a new study by Pedro Martins using data from Portugal that observes the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | 1 Comment

Paul Samuelson

As an econ-blogger, I’d be remiss not to mention the passing this week of one of the greats of the profession, Paul (“I don’t care who writes a nation’s laws if I can write its economics textbooks”) Samuelson. Amidst a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Happiness, Love, Money, and Sex

My AFR op-ed today discusses two happiness papers by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. Full text over the fold. 

Posted in Economics of the Family, Labour Economics, Macroeconomics | 2 Comments

Look at the changes, not at the levels

A few people have asked me recently for my view on “The Spirit Level” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, which is apparently having some impact in policy circles. John Kay’s view in the FT comes closest to my own: … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Health economics, Inequality, Macroeconomics | 9 Comments

Do you see Obama as Black or White?

[Tirta Susilo is a PhD student in psychology, and a co-author of mine on a recent study, published in (appropriately enough) the Journal of Economic Psychology. Tirta has written a guest-post on some fascinating new research about skin colour and … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, US Politics | 1 Comment

Of politics, tax and monetary policy

Ross Gittins gave a fascinating talk on Monday to the Australian Business Economists Annual Forecasting Conference, and he’s kindly agreed to let me post it here. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Australian Politics, Macroeconomics, Tax | 1 Comment

Tax and Skills

Earlier this year, the Henry tax review (aka AFTS) commissioned me to write a paper on the tax treatment of education. They’ve now posted it on their website. Here’s the executive summary (click on the title for the full paper). … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Tax | 1 Comment

How Socially Mobile are Conference Attendees?

At my intergenerational mobility conference last week, I asked all attendees: What percentile in the income distribution does your household now occupy? (1=lowest,50=middle, 100=highest) What percentile in the income distribution did your household occupy when you were aged 14? In … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality

Genes in the Ghetto, Chromosomes in the Kitchen

On Wednesday 16 December, I’m hosting NYU sociologist (and NBER fellow) Dalton Conley, who is giving a public lecture at ANU on his new work at the intersection of the social and life sciences. The talk is free and open … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events

Radical Hope: A Response

In October, Noel Pearson wrote a Quarterly Essay on Indigenous education titled “Radical Hope: Education and Equality in Australia”. In the December issue, I have a letter published in response. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Economics of Education, Indigenous Policy, Randomisation | 2 Comments

Economics and Sociology

I spoke yesterday in a plenary session at The Australian Sociological Association’s annual conference at ANU. The session was on ‘Economics and Sociology’, and I shared the stage with RSSS Director David Marsh and TASA President Michael Gilding (who I … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 5 Comments

Odds bleg

Has anyone been tracking betting odds for the Federal Coalition and NSW ALP before and after their recent leadership changes? I’m curious to know whether the markets think that the two caucuses made the right decision. Update: Skeptic points me … Continue reading

Posted in Prediction Markets | 7 Comments

Tantrums and Child Care

Chikako Yamauchi and I have a new paper out this week on the impacts of child care. Abstract below (click on the title for the full paper). Which Children Benefit From Non-Parental Care? Andrew Leigh & Chikako Yamauchi Although the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Economics of the Family | 1 Comment

Fewer children left behind

My AFR oped today (competing with the ascendancy of a certain ex-monk), is on the impact of US school reforms on student achievement. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Economics of Education