Monthly Archives: March 2010


The Sunday Age has a selection of 15 tips to improve your life, including – bizarrely – advice from an economist (#13). What do these dismal scientists think they know about happiness?

Posted in Eclectic Observations | 1 Comment

Sin Tax Error?

My AFR op-ed today is on tobacco and alcohol taxes. Full text over the fold. Some references are hyperlinked, and there’s more detail at the end of the piece.

Posted in Tax | 2 Comments

The link between terrorism and trash collection

I wrote recently about the work that UCSD economist Eli Berman has been doing on the relationship between social service provision and terrorism. His team now has a new website for their research, which Eli tells me will be updated … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of National Security | 1 Comment

Worms, dials and buttons

In yet another insightful post, Scott Steel (aka Possum Comitatus) blogs on the different ‘worm technologies’ used to follow yesterday’s debate. Is anyone sitting on data that contains both a transcript and the worm level? I’d be curious to see … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on Worms, dials and buttons

Of stockmarkets and supermarket queues

My Wryside Economics segment today was on investing in the sharemarket. I discussed Burton Malkiel’s classic A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and the merits of index funds. If you’re not a regular ABC Radio National listener, you can find … Continue reading

Posted in Finance | Comments Off on Of stockmarkets and supermarket queues

Home Computers and Human Capital

Some Romanian evidence on the vexed question of how home computers impact children’s learning. Home Computer Use and the Development of Human Capital (gated stable link, ungated unstable link) Ofer Malamud and Cristian Pop-Eleches This paper uses a regression discontinuity … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education | Comments Off on Home Computers and Human Capital

Turning an eye to the CPI

Update: All ABS submission to the inquiry are now online. For my money, the most enlightening is point 3.2.2 of the Australian Treasury submission. ~~~~~~~~ The ABS are undertaking the first major review of the Consumer Price Index in 13 … Continue reading

Posted in Macroeconomics | Comments Off on Turning an eye to the CPI

Understanding Tax Evasion

As regular blog readers will know, I’m a big fan of randomisation. In the context of tax audits, this is particularly useful. Though politically controversial, random audit experiments like the US TCMP have taught us a lot about who underreports … Continue reading

Posted in Randomisation, Tax | 3 Comments

Does Mum’s Age Matter?

Xiaodong Gong and I have a paper in the latest issue of the Australian Economic Review. Abstract below. Does Maternal Age Affect Children’s Test Scores? Andrew Leigh and Xiaodong Gong We estimate the relationship between maternal age and child outcomes, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Last Australian Shoe Manufacturers

I had a throwaway line in my op-ed this morning. What will a company tax rise do to prices? While the evidence is thin, theory suggests that companies will be most likely to put up prices on consumers when they … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Who ends up footing the company tax bill?

My AFR op-ed today is on the economic incidence of company taxes. The draft benefited from comments by Nicholas Gruen and an anonymous friend. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Tax | 5 Comments

A Capital Challenge

Watching the attempts of the red-shirts to change the Thai government by bringing Bangkok to a standstill, I was reminded of the observation that Alberto Alesina and Ed Glaeser make in their book Fighting Poverty. In countries where the largest … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Elections | 3 Comments

Leaders as Readers (sequel)

In a slight departure, my ABC Radio National Wryside Economics segment today had almost nothing to do with economics. Instead, I spent the time talking about the piece that Macgregor Duncan and I wrote on reading and political leadership. You … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Books | 1 Comment


Teach for Australia, a new program started this year, is now taking applications for its 2011 cohort. Closing date is 6 April 2010.

Posted in Jobs | 3 Comments

Leaders as Readers

Macgregor Duncan and I have a piece out today in the Australian Literary Review, looking at what Australian politicians should and do read. Full text here, and results from our survey of federal politicians here. We had a lot of … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | 4 Comments

Do Redistributive State Taxes Reduce Inequality?

A few years ago, I did some work on the impact of progressive taxes at the state level (in the US). There’s a theory around that high-income workers flee progressive taxes, and therefore that they have no effect on post-tax … Continue reading

Posted in Inequality, Tax | 3 Comments

Mind the Gap?

My AFR op-ed today is on the economics and philosophy of inequality. Full text over the fold. I’ve hyperlinked the cited studies. Two others that I can also heartily recommend are a paper by Gary Burtless & Christopher Jencks, and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, Inequality, Low Wage Work | 8 Comments

’Grist and the Guys in the Gong

On 20 April, Peter Siminski (University of Wollongong) is hosting a workshop on ‘Frontiers in Human Capital Research’ on 20th of April, featuring Josh Angrist (MIT) as the keynote speaker. Here’s the program.

Posted in Coming Events | Comments Off on ’Grist and the Guys in the Gong

Leaders as Readers (prequel)

Macgregor Duncan and I have written a piece on politicians’ reading habits, which will be out in the Australian Literary Review on Wednesday (at which point I’ll post the full spreadsheet of results on my academic website). In the meantime, … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics | Comments Off on Leaders as Readers (prequel)