Category Archives: Economics Generally

Why give when you can lend?

My opinion piece today is on the multifarious uses for income contingent loans. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally, Economics of the Family | 8 Comments

Getting housing policy right

Adrian Wong has asked me to remind people about the RBA Essay Competition, open to all economics students presently studying at Australian universities. This year’s topic: Housing Costs and Affordability in Australia Housing is an important component of household expenditure … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Universities | 2 Comments

Wanted: Econ PhD students

My economics group – in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University – is seeking PhD students. Here’s a one-page flyer, and a more detailed document about our program.

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Everythingonomics

In the weekend AFR, Dierdre Macken has an article on the steady expansion of economic research into non-traditional areas (or as she calls the phenomenon, ‘Everythingonomics’). The article profiles Justin Wolfers, Tim Harford, and yours truly; and also has some commentary from Australian … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Money may not buy love, but it can buy happiness.

Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have a new paper out that debunks the Easterlin Paradox. It’s a classic Stevenson-Wolfers style “throw all the data we can find at the problem” paper, and it concludes that (a) rich people are happier than … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 12 Comments

Does your favourite policy work? Toss a coin to find out

My AFR oped today is on randomised policy trials, with a particular discussion of what I think is the most fascinating randomised trial now in place in Australia – the Head Injury Retrieval Trial. I’m grateful to commenter Mark, who … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

The Economics of Labour Shortages

I spoke today at the Melbourne Institute’s conference on the topic of labour supply and labour shortages. For anyone who’s interested, here’s my powerpoint. I shared the stage with Judith Sloan, Jeff Lawrence, Heather Ridout and Guyonne Kalb, which made … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 5 Comments

No loss to liberty, but no gain in fraternity

Several studies have looked at the impact of the French 35 hour week law on economic output (my recollection is that most find little impact). Now another study has looked at its effect on social capital. Its conclusion? Not much … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

And he calls himself an ozeconblogger?

Apologies for not having posted on the two big economic issues of the week in Australian politics: the NAIRU and the Garnaut interim report. Just one of those weeks, I’m afraid. Fortunately, Joshua Gans and John Quiggin (inter alia) have … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Psychological theories, labs, and fields

Steve Levitt and John List, writing about behavioural economics in Science: Most of this research eschews a narrow conception of rationality, while continuing to embrace precisely stated assumptions that produce a constrained optimization problem. A less “scientific,” and in our … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 1 Comment

Thirtysomething Thinkers

Following in the footsteps of the Economic Society of Australia, which last year instituted a biennial medal for the best Australian economist under the age of 40 (and gave the inaugural prize to Joshua Gans), the Italians have decided to … Continue reading

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There's a bear in there

My oped today is on bulls, bears and efficient markets. Full text over the fold.

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on There's a bear in there

It's your number

Joshua Gans has recently proposed that bank account numbers should be portable, just like mobile phone numbers. I was initially sceptical, but his FAQ neatly addressed most of the concerns that I had. (See also a writeup in the Canberra … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 6 Comments

The Short-Run and Long-Run Effects of Violent Movies

I blogged last year on a paper by Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna, looking at the impact of movie releases on violent crime. To jog your memory, here’s the abstract: Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime? Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Media | 1 Comment

You can bet your Goobles on it

Bo Cowgill, Justin Wolfers and Eric Zitzewitz have a new paper out, looking at Google’s internal prediction markets. NYT report here. Paper here. (HT: Chris Masse)

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on You can bet your Goobles on it

Edgy Economics

I’ve become interested lately in the economics of illegal or semi-legal activities, an area that seems to be utterly under-researched, and which I think could make a really good honours or masters thesis. To name just a few areas, I … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Law | 7 Comments

Of Horses and Men

Thinking about placing a bet on the Melbourne Cup tomorrow? If so, you can expect to lose money. But if you want to lose less (in a probabalistic sense), then you should bet on short-odds horses rather than longshots. According … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | Comments Off on Of Horses and Men

T’aint lark playin’ for Yorksha is it?

Last week, Gummo Trotsky wrote a feisty post, criticising the intervention of economists into the question of the impact of mobile phone usage on accident rates. More recently, commenter whyisitso on Andrew Norton’s blog asked economist Harry Clarke how he presumed … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 26 Comments

ANU Economics Showcase

On 28-29 November 2007, ANU will be holding a conference to showcase economics research from across campus. Attendance is free – details here. If you’re a research-inclined undergraduate or Masters student, we might even pay your way.

Posted in Coming Events, Economics Generally | Comments Off on ANU Economics Showcase

Political Perquisites

Surfing past LSE economist Tim Besley’s website, I came across a rather neat paper on the cost of UK MPs, which some enterprising political scientist could easily replicate for Australia. Working or Shirking? A Closer Look at MPs’ Expenses and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 5 Comments

Are U Happy?

Middle-aged and feeling glum? Don’t worry, you’re just like most people in developed countries. And when you get older, you’ll be as happy as when you were a young ‘un. Is Well-Being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle? David G. Blanchflower … Continue reading

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A Taste of ANU Economics Scholarships

The Economics Program in the Research School of Social Sciences is offering a handful of scholarships for research-inclined Honours and Masters students to attend forthcoming economics conferences at the Australian National University (we’ve called them “A Taste of ANU Economics”). … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Universities | Comments Off on A Taste of ANU Economics Scholarships

Conversations about Capitalism

In the latest issue of Reason Magazine, economist Deirdre McCloskey has a beautifully-penned article about Galbraith, Schumpeter, economics and rhetoric. Definitely worth a read, particularly the parts about Galbraith’s zingers and Schumpeter’s three great ambitions.

Posted in Economics Generally, What I'm Reading | 8 Comments

Do Economists Protest?

With all the anti-APEC protests taking place in Sydney this week, it’s a pity that there isn’t something to give a bit of balance. After all, one of APEC’s greatest achievements is to get all developed members to commit to … Continue reading

Posted in Coming Events, Economics Generally | 14 Comments

Poor kids first, please

I’ve written before about the way in which research on the benefits of targeted high-impact early childhood intervention has been used to justify low-impact universal programs. Fortunately, it seems I’m not the only one who’s worried about this. From the … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 3 Comments

Questions asked, questions unasked

For anyone curious about the kind of research that Australasian labour economists are doing, some of the papers and discussions from the recent Australasian Labour Econometrics Workshop in Wellington can be found here. There’s only a dozen papers, but I’d … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 4 Comments

Idiot Box Helps Smarten People Up

Good economists keep doing interesting work on the media. Here’s the latest. The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women’s Status in India  Robert Jensen, Emily Oster  Cable and satellite television have grown rapidly throughout the developing world.  The availability … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, Media | 1 Comment

The Political Economy of Interest Rates

I have an oped in today’s AFR on the politics and economics of interest rates. Copy over the fold.

Posted in Economics Generally | 7 Comments

First-best in public, second-best in private

In a recent post, Dani Rodrik divides economists into first-best economists and second-best economists. Put simply, the former apply straightforward economic reasoning; the latter think more about market imperfections. To be precise: You can tell what kind of an economist … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 7 Comments

Power, Passion and Policy

Steven Levitt lists a number of ‘dangerous’ questions asked by Steven Pinker (eg. ‘Are suicide terrorists well-educated, mentally healthy and morally driven?’, ‘Is morality just a product of the evolution of our brains, with no inherent reality?’), and notes that … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally | 7 Comments