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Optus makes me out of touch

I’ve been lying low for the past week as I have been travelling and trying to catch up with that thing I call ‘work’ which pays me an income.

To complicate things, with respect to my blogging, my Optus supplied home broadband service has been ‘slowed’ because I have exceeded my monthly allowance of 12GB. […]

Do women work harder?

At the recent ACE meetings I attended, a prominent economist (Christopher Pissarides) asserted in one session that he had found that in developed countries (other than Denmark) women work harder in total (in the paid workforce and in the home) than men. It was a claim that interested me so I have been checking it […]

The Labor Party & child-sex

Labor’s ex-NSW Aboriginal affairs minister Milton Orkopoulos has denied committing child sex offenses. He is facing 37 charges of child sex and of supplying drugs to children for sex. Premier Morris Lemma denies knowing anything in advance about these alleged offenses which justified his retention as a Minister until he was formally charged though his […]

Investing to enhance happiness by constraining demands

There were some good papers at the Australian Conference of Economists that I have just returned from – I enjoyed a session on water resource economics – but overall my impression of the Conference was one of slight disappointment. The venue in Hobart was great – the seafood restaurants were outstanding and the local economics […]

Foreign exchange & derivative activity Australia 2004-2007

Maybe the level of foreign exchange and derivative activity makes sense given Australia’s expanded role in the world economy but the numbers look large and the growth rates are huge.

Total turnover has more than doubled, and has increased across all instruments, counterparties and currencies. In terms of global turnover, the Australian foreign exchange market […]

ACE Hobart 2007

I am in Hobart for the next few days attending the Australian Conference of Economists. I am giving a paper, Policies for Reducing the Costs of Cigarette Smoking. If you are reading this and attending this Conference please make yourself known to me and try to come to my session on Tuesday.

Hobart is an […]

Encourage don’t discourage efficient land speculation

The Age today is bemoaning the fact that monopoly control of large tracts of land on the borders of our big cities is driving up land and therefore house prices. The claim is that developers are ‘sitting on’ enough land to house 100,000 people. A Professor Steven Keen is complaining that ‘land banking’ is driving […]

Blood tests for early lung cancer detection

In searching for possible harm-minimisation policies with respect to the lung cancer consequences of smoking I recently posted on the possibility of using CAT scans as an earlier way of detecting tumours. The difficulty of such testing is the problem of too many false positives and the possibility that malignant tumours are likely to develop […]

Kevin Rudd on ‘trainer wheels’

Tuesday last week I praised Kevin Rudd for his principled opposition to the pokies and for his claim that alternative sources of state revenue will need to be found to replace pokie taxes. His opposition, a week later, seems to have softened a bit – the states really need the revenues he stated yesterday and […]

Nest Egg

I spent today around Albury-Wodonga getting informed about an interesting trial of a new auction system for purchasing conservation land from farmers. It is called Nest Egg.

The idea is that conservation scientists do a careful tabulation of the conservation benefits achievable from sites nominated by farmers (the farmer is not told this […]

Pursuing a rational death

I have been reading about death. It is something that interests me. I am not concerned with those unfortunates associated with a death – doe-eyed friends and relatives who might love you and even mentally put you in your coffin before you are ready to expire. Nor am I concerned with those who will grieve […]

Motives fallacy #3097: US intervention in Iraq was all about oil

I discussed earlier this year the notion of a motives fallacy – namely the idea that exposing the motives behind an opinion shows that the opinion is false. Allen Greenspan has claimed in a new book that the ‘prime motive for the war’ in Iraq was oil.

So what? I guess as economic history this […]

Bronwyn Bishop gets tough on harm minimisers

The Coalition’s ‘tough on drugs’ policy has been, in fact, a de facto harm-minimisation policy with a tough, external public persona. The years of being tough on drug users in Australia are, in fact, long since finished. With respect to heroin addictions, emphasis for a long time has been on treatment of the addiction by […]

God lives in the Coonawarra

One of the great wine makers of Australia is Brian Croser of Petaluma. He makes lovely chardonnays and a Riesling you would die for but one of the wines of his that I really like is the Cabernet-Merlot. I drank my sole (sob!) remaining bottle of the 1990 vintage this evening.

It is 88% cabernet […]

Rejoining ranks of the golfing greats

I have started playing golf again and have even invested in a new set of clubs and buggy. It is amazing how golf clubs and golf gear generally are so much cheaper – in nominal not only real terms – than when I last played seriously a decade ago. The good economic reasons for this […]

Technological fixes address problem gambling

Joshua Gans has an interesting post on technological fixes for dealing with problem gamblers. Essentially Joshua advocates technology to enable gamblers to pre-commit to limiting the extent of their gambling per week. This limits the propensity to get involved in ‘within session’ gambling excesses – running off to use the ATM when you have exhausted […]

Monopoly casino profits belong to governments disbursing monopoly power

Continuing the gambling posts of recent days it is interesting to observe the punch-up currently going on between Tabcorp and the government of the ‘poker machine state’, NSW.

Tabcorp has a licence to operate the Star City Casino as the only casino in the state. This licence expired last night.

The likelihood of the […]

A brutal business, politics

John Howard is a great Prime Minister and deserves to be re-elected but it looks like he will not be. The question is whether Howard will lead the Liberal Party going into the election or whether he will be replaced today by Peter Costello. Given Paul Kelly’s account in The Australian today Howard has serious […]

Hokey Pokey & the Labor Party

The Four Corners show ‘Hokey Pokie’ dealing with the NSW poker machine industry did not teach me much that was new about the economic impacts of gambling – the full video is online here. Most problem gambling (around 85%) centres on the pokies which in turn comprise about 80% of total gambling. Pokies are overwhelmingly […]

Gambling in Australia & the pokies

This is an expanded repost of an earlier post. Four Corners has a show on gambling in Australia tonight and I thought I would gather my thoughts and knowledge together before it goes to air. This show mainly targets the pokies and presumably mainly NSW where there are 100,000 of them – more than all […]