Category Archives: Tax

Talking Sin

My Wryside Economics segment on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program yesterday was on sin taxes. If you’re curious to catch up on it, you can listen to it here.

Posted in Health economics, Tax | Comments Off on Talking Sin

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

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

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

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


I’ve been pushing for several years for a simplified tax filing system, in which the ATO would send all Australians a pre-filled return, with the option of choosing to accept it with a simple phonecall (though if a person wanted … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 2 Comments

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

Superannuation co-contribution, jam choice, and taxation

The Henry tax review has posted an interesting paper on its website. Behavioural economics and complex decision making: implications for the Australian tax and transfer system by Andrew Reeson and Simon Dunstall, CSIRO This paper summarises the relevant literature (from … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioural Economics, Tax | Comments Off on Superannuation co-contribution, jam choice, and taxation

Stamp Duty and the Housing Market

I have a new paper out, looking at the impact of stamp duty on the housing market. Methodologically, the question turns out to be slightly tricky – because stamp duty is a mechanical function of house prices, a regression of … Continue reading

Posted in Tax, Urban Economics | 6 Comments

Conference on Intergenerational Mobility

On Monday 30 November, I’m running a conference at ANU on ‘The Economics of Intergenerational Mobility’. This is an area I’ve been interested in since 2007, when I wrote what I’m pretty sure was the first paper estimating the intergenerational … Continue reading

Posted in Development Economics, Econometrics, Economics of Education, Economics of the Family, Health economics, Inequality, Labour Economics, Tax | Comments Off on Conference on Intergenerational Mobility

Dealing With Age Inflation

My op-ed today proposes a systematic fix to the lobbyist-laden bunfight that seems to accompany every proposal to change a statutory age limit. I argue that we should index legislated ages to longevity improvements. Full text below.

Posted in Health economics, Tax | 6 Comments

What Tax Researchers Can Learn from Psychology

A splendid new paper sums up some of the interesting developments in the field known as behavioral public finance (I wrote about this in my AFR column recently). The abstract is below, and some choice snippets are over the fold. … Continue reading

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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

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

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

Should we subsidise stay-at-home spouses?

Misha Schubert has a piece in the Age today looking at the dependent spouse rebate, a payment akin to Family Tax Benefit Part B, but for people without children. I confess to not having given this particular tax rebate a … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 33 Comments

Some Negative Thoughts on Tax Reform

I gave a short talk today to a CEDA Tax Policy Directions Forum in Canberra. My title was “Yet Another Economist Advocating Negative Income Taxes”. My slides are here. (In discussion, I also mentioned that I couldn’t see any economic … Continue reading

Posted in Low Wage Work, Tax | 8 Comments

Of Eureka and Underdogs

My oped in today’s AFR is on targeted welfare. This is a topic on which I’ve learned a lot from the blogosophere over the last couple of years, so thanks to those who’ve helped shape my thinking on it. (And … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Inequality, Tax | 38 Comments

South Coast Spenders

The Canberra Times today reports on a poll of 400 voters in the bellweather seat of Eden Monaro. When asked whether they prefer $34b to be devoted to tax cuts or health/education, 10% say tax cuts, while 88% say spending. … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Tax | 5 Comments

If you thought the discussion of aspirational voters was tedious, try aspirational tax schedules

Peter Costello is today focusing on 2012… or is it 2013? However, Mr Howard and Mr Costello focused on the “aspirational” tax pledges both sides have made for beyond the 2010 election. Labor said that in six years, if affordable, … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Tax | 1 Comment

A distributional analysis of the Coalition and ALP tax proposals

Since no-one else seems to be doing it, I’ve been tinkering with the Coalition and ALP tax proposals, trying to look at how they’re distributed across the income spectrum. Here’s my best estimate as to their distribution across the 10 … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 14 Comments

Did you know they've taken the word 'gullible' out of the dictionary?

I’m embarassed to say that this morning, I nearly fell for a scam-email purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office, and offering a tax return of “270$”. I console myself with the thought that this is basically what I’ve … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 3 Comments

The interest rates Pushmepullu

According to Peter Hartcher, markets currently put a 50% probability on the RBA raising rates at its 6 Nov meeting. And not surprisingly, many commentators are predicting that the Coalition’s tax cut package will increase that probability; though the effect … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 7 Comments

Gold-plated tax cuts

The first announcement of the federal election is out, and it’s a juicy big package of tax cuts from the Coalition. My guess is that much of the commentary will focus on the inflationary impact of the cuts when the … Continue reading

Posted in Low Wage Work, Tax | 21 Comments

Tax Cheating

A couple of new papers suggest that most Australians believe that cheating on your taxes is wrong (62% say that tax evasion is never justifiable), and that Aussies are no more likely to evade tax than Americans or New Zealanders. … Continue reading

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The Y chromosome tax

Alberto Alesina and Andrea Ichino have a simple proposal: men and women should face different tax rates. Here is a policy proposal that should make the two camps agree: reduce income taxes on women and increase, by less, income taxes … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 23 Comments

Big taxee, no workee

Now here’s a paper whose conclusions should make John Howard and Ross Gittins both nod their heads. Labour Taxes and Work Hours in Australia Anton Hallam & Ernst Weber In the 1970s, work hours in Europe were similar to work hours … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | 18 Comments

The budget that brings home the median voter?

Sometimes political science can feel a bit removed from the reality of politics. But in election years, it’s good to be reminded that the median voter theorem really does hold. The further behind a government thinks it is, the more … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Economics of Education, Tax | 9 Comments

Taxpaying Made Easy

I have a short piece in the latest issue of Agenda, the ANU economic policy journal, entitled “Taxpaying Made Easy“. Simply put, I argue that we can save a lot of Australians the bother of filling out an annual tax … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Politics, Tax | 23 Comments