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Pornification of girlhood

I was interested in this Quadrant article by Melinda Reist on trends in modern commercial culture towards the sexualisation of girls. Girls are increasingly taught that their bodies are their major asset and the main source of their self-worth. The important thing is to be ‘hot’.

Despite the internalisation of many of the ideas in […]

Young children should not marry

In Yemen 8-10 year old female children get married to adult males where they are raped and beaten. The children are married off because the alternative is to be abducted and raped. In addition ‘young virginal brides can be shaped into dutiful wives’. And as tribal elders say, the Prophet Mohammed was married to a […]

Turnaround for the Coalition?

With its total domination of the Australian political scene are the public becoming cautious about State Labor? Are Australians tiring of Kevin Rudd’s hot air politics? The cartoon above (from The Age) is an absolute delight. In NSW Morris Iemma would be thrashed on the basis of current opinion polls and yesterday’s State […]


Joshua Gans is auctioning off the first copy of his book Parentonomics on Ebay. Proceeds will go the MS Society so bidding gets you a good (autographed) read and does good. Joshua will match the bid with a contribution of his own.Update (1): I bid $50 but was soon outbid. Go for it sons and […]

Andrew Leigh on house prices & the value of a quality public education

Andrew Leigh is an amazingly active economist and does work of real social value. The current Economic Record has a piece by Andrew and his colleague Ian Davidoff where he values public school education in the ACT by looking at the effects of better than average test scores on house prices. A preprint of the […]

How we think

I’ll post this review of 7 books on neuroscience because, while I didn’t learn a lot that is new – I am sure I would if I read the books – it contains a fascinating collage of titbits and is a good introduction. The comments on the ambiguous benefits of nicotine I have discussed before.


Carbon leakage effects leak away

As is well known the global external costs of greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) are ignored for Prisoner’s Dilemma reasons. This means that even if all countries would be better off with an agreement to cut their GGEs it makes sense for individual countries top defect from such an agreement. They can then either enjoy the […]

Nibbling away at nature & amenity resources

I don’t have strong views on the proposed use of the particular park in Kensington for Sir Ron Eddington’s proposed tunnel to connect the eastern freeway with the western suburbs in Melbourne*. Public protests are being organised on this use of the park. However I am concerned at the propensity of governments at all levels […]

Sydney’s traffic woes

Correspondent Conrad referred me to this interesting newspaper account of an academic report on Sydney’s traffic woes. The suggestion is that, without congestion pricing, Sydney would need to construct the equivalent of 14 Lane Cove tunnels annually just to stabilise traffic congestion at current levels.

These claims seem a bit exaggerated. Crippling congestion will itself […]

Urban congestion

My paper, Targeting urban congestion: Equity and second-best issues, has just been published in the Australian Economic Review. Unfortunately the complete paper is firewalled outside the universities. I originally drafted this here on my blog for the Making the Boom Pay Conference in 2006. Comments welcome.

Editorial assistant sought

I am looking for someone to work as an Editorial Assistant for the journal Economic Papers which I now edit. They must be based in Melbourne.

The work involved is 1-2 days per week depending on the volume of work. The work involves proof-reading and dealing with academic journal submissions. It also involves maintaining records […]

Transport costs, fuel prices & trade

As fuel gets more expensive the transport costs associated with international trade get larger and trade diminishes. By how much? Paul Krugman cites a study (by Nuno Limão and Anthony J. Venables) that deals with transport costs and geography as factors determining trade. It implies that a doubling of fuel costs will contract trade by […]

Tiger Woods again & again

After an extra 19 holes of playoff Tiger woods defeated Rocco Mediate to win his third US Open Golf championship. Wood’s rounds included 3 spectacular eagles. It was great viewing on FOXTEL – I have watched all but the final playoff holes which I will view this evening.

Woods played with a severe knee […]

Conservative governments who run large deficits

When do conservative administrations run big budget deficits? One answer might be that they face almost inevitable electoral defeat and wish to leave the pantry bare to restrict the options of future less conservative administrations. That’s Paul Krugman’s view of the rationale for the Bush tax cuts and the resulting huge US government deficits. A […]

No need for moral panic over drugs

I have pointed out repeatedly that drug use in Australia is under control. Cigarette, heroin, amphetamine and cannabis consumption are declining and alcohol consumption is roughly stable. It is the reason I don’t support moves to reform drug laws on the grounds that current laws have failed – they have not failed at all.

An […]

China & India will end up complying with US demands on greenhouse gas mitigation

The current environmental situation in countries such as China and India is poor – China’s citizens are getting richer but increasingly living in a rubbish dump. But, with respect to climate change and other environmental problems, China is altering its policy view towards being much more environmentally protective. I don’t think it has altered its […]

To succeed as a terrorist

This early Freakonomics post made a much criticised approach to the issue.

This recent clip makes useful (cutting edge) suggestions.

Cooperation in climate change negotiations

For certain types of national payoffs the problem of engineering a cooperative agreement among nations to achieve good greenhouse gas controls can have the structure of a Prisoner’s Dilemma. The welfare of all countries is maximised if they all agree to mitigate their emissions but each country has incentives to ‘free ride’ on mitigation agreements. […]

Acid mud (= ‘sulfidic sediments’): A repost

I got several things wrong in my earlier effort on this. This is a rethink which probably is still not error free but it is an improvement.

In many wetlands along the Murray and Darling Rivers, sediments flooded for decades by locks and weirs, are being exposed to air as drought-affected water levels fall. Inland […]

Joni Mitchell

I’ve been busy working over recent days but I after finally receiving a few early Joni Mitchell CDs from I got to listen to them last night. After a few minutes I abandoned all thoughts of anything other than this music.

For some reason I’d forgotten just how good she is. I started with […]