Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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Randomising in the UK

In 2003, the UK government started a major randomised evaluation of the Employment Retention and Advancement project (ERA), to test the effectiveness of interventions to improve job retention and advancement prospects for low wage workers (background here). Like the US … Continue reading

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The Black-White Test Score Gap Downunder

(xposted @ Core) Discussing NT schools, the CIS’s Helen Hughes writes: This week all Australian children in school years 3, 5, 7 and 9 sat numeracy and literacy tests for the second time. The tests are to give Australians an … Continue reading

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RBA Essay Competition 2009

Adrian Wong has asked me to remind students about the RBA Essay Competition, open to citizens and permanent residents of Australia who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at an accredited Australian university. This year’s topic should be a … Continue reading

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Marlboro Man or Winnie Blue?

The new political debate over tobacco taxes has got me wondering: are smokers more likely to vote for parties of the right (because they believe in individual liberty) or parties of the left (because they tend to be poorer than … Continue reading

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The cost of social capital

A new working paper on friendships and test scores suggests that they may be substitutes rather than complements. Do More Friends Mean Better Grades?: Student Popularity and Academic Achievement Kata Mihaly Peer interactions have been argued to play a major … Continue reading

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An interesting few weeks

ABC Radio: “ANU Professor […] has urged the government to act decisively on West Papua” Murph: “How many bloody professors have they got at that place?” Tony: “I’ll tell you where we need a violent crackdown…” ~ “A Time for … Continue reading

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Who wants more rungs on the ladder of opportunity?

For anyone interested in understanding attitudes about redistribution, a new working paper from Alberto Alesina and Paola Giuliano titled Preferences for Redistribution is a must-read. Some snippets. We start our analysis by examining the individual determinants of preferences for redistribution … Continue reading

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It's Captain Feathersword!

Am I the only one who is finding Thai politics hard to take seriously? According to the latest reports: About 2,000 red-shirted protesters loyal to the exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra marched through the convention centre… Many analysts and observers … Continue reading

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Leigh-squared

I did a little interview with Leigh Sales on Lateline last night, speaking about interest rates, forecasting today’s atrocious unemployment numbers, discussing the impact of recessions on mortality (putting the late into Lateline?), and asserting that studying economics is more … Continue reading

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My kind of cartoon

From XKCD (HT: Rocco Weglarz & Robert Wiblin)

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When Good Leaders Hit Bad Times

In early-1993, Australian unemployment peaked at nearly 12%. In 1992-1995, six of Australia’s eight states and territories ousted their government. By contrast, unemployment averaged 5% in 2003-2006. In these years, no state or territory government was ousted from power. In … Continue reading

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Pressure

My 16-month old son seems to drift off to sleep equally well regardless of what bedtime story I read to him. So I’ve switched from Winnie-the-Pooh to Les Murray. At risk of breaching copyright, here’s one of tonight’s poems, from … Continue reading

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A Randomised Trial of the Job Network?

Don Arthur emails on a topic close to my heart, with a sensible and straightforward proposal that should be extremely appealing to a federal government that has announced its commitment to evidence-based policymaking. I’m a big fan of your op-eds … Continue reading

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O-Yes

So it’s Obama vs McCain for the White House. I’ve been an Obamaphile for a couple of years now, but in terms of pure theatre, I’m also excited about him facing off against McCain, one of the most interesting pollies … Continue reading

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Pay for Paperwork?

The Business Council of Australia’s new report on teacher quality has hit the papers yesterday and today, with its recommendations for top teachers to get six-figure salaries. Oddly, this drew a hostile response from John Della Bosca, the NSW Education Minister. … Continue reading

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Ho ritornato

Apologies for the bloghiatus. After a delightful two weeks in Stockholm and Tuscany, I’m back in the ‘berra to a mound of mail, email, and revisions. If it wasn’t for the fact that my building has a superb barista, I’m … Continue reading

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Imagining Australia – Nation Building

Here’s a few Imagining Australia ideas on nation-building. Not so much the bricks-and-mortar kind; more of the bodies-and-minds stuff. We note that while nation-building has been an integral part of the Australian story, the nation-building spirit is largely absent from … Continue reading

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Partisan Inequality?

Dani Rodrik recently posted a picture from Larry Bartels’ latest book – in which Bartels shows that in the US, inequality rises under Republicans, and falls under Democrats. Here’s the key graph: What’s curious about this is that it seems … Continue reading

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Misled

Joshua Gans has a theory that I attract more critics than the average academic. Judging by today’s Age, he may be right. Monash University’s David Zyngier is very cross that I was invited to the 2020 summit, and critiques my … Continue reading

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Gans on Girl Goofs

Joshua Gans reports on worrying new research about the effect of tax payments on the gender mix of children. More here. And in unrelated news, Google Sydney has just announced gDay with MATE. From the release: Using MATE’sâ„¢ machine learning … Continue reading

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Of Kids and Kings

My AFR oped today is on school funding. Perhaps because I’ve been reading too many speeches by Barack Obama, I set out four principles that I thought all sides in the education debate should be able to agree on. I’d … Continue reading

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Obama on Race

According to Intrade, the person most likely to be the next US President is Barack Obama (their current prices suggest Obama 44%, McCain 40%, Clinton 16%). He’s just given a speech on race in Philadelphia that Nicholas Kristof calls the … Continue reading

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BB Bounce

Thanks to Peter Martin, some of my research on the Baby Bonus has resurfaced in the press over recent days. Joshua Gans has more.

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Facelift

I’ve just implemented a redesign of my ANU website, aimed at making my research papers, opeds and other writings a little more accessible to the world. If you have comments/suggestions, I’m keen to hear them. My HTML abilities are limited … Continue reading

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Malaysian Election Roundup II

In a delightful coincidence, my father also appears on the opinion pages today, writing about the Malaysian election in the Age. The full text of his oped is over the fold.

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Malaysian Election Roundup

My father, Michael Leigh, is a political scientist who specialises in Malaysian politics. He’s there at present, and emails the following commentary (note to opinion editors: feel free to get in touch via me if you’re interested in an op-ed … Continue reading

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Blogger flies – open thread

I’m heading up to Brisbane today, and giving a talk at UQ Business School on Friday. In the meantime, feel free to post on the NSW bearpit, William F. Buckley’s passing, why hedge funds don’t like Eddy Groves, or anything … Continue reading

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So, you want to write an op-ed?

In 2004, I wrote a document called ‘a few tips for opinion piece writers’, and posted them on my website. I gave a talk today to an ANU masterclass on op-ed writing, organised by NYU’s Brooke Kroeger. This afternoon, I … Continue reading

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Crikey subs

Club Troppo blogger Nicholas Gruen is looking to secure a group discount on Crikey subscriptions. Anyone who wants to participate in Troppo’s bulk subscription to Crikey! should email me on nicholas at gruenxxx dot com dot au – and remove … Continue reading

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