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Alcopops tax revenue refunded to who?

The alcopops tax has yielded a great deal of revenue although the bill justifying the tax may now not be passed by the Senate.  Apparently then the government has to return the revenue to the party who bore the tax.  The nominal incidence of such a tax is on the alcohol producers but, if demand […]

Climate change adaptation for natural resources

I am presenting a talk on the topic above to the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) Victorian Branch August meeting tomorrow, Friday 29th August, from 12-30pm (sharp) to 2-00pm, upstairs at the Elephant and Wheel Barrow pub (cnr Bourke and Exhibition St, Melbourne).

If you wish to attend you must register with dave.appels@frontier-economics.com.  I thought […]

Macquarie Bank another domino to topple?

I dont have time to comment on this review but as I have suggested in the past the future of Macquarie Bank and its ‘millionaire factory’ is being increasingly questioned. In my earlier post I noted that Enron analyst Jim Chanos described Macquarie as a Ponzi scheme.

Certainly the spinoff firms from Macquarie are not […]

Electricity privatisations opposed by Libs & incentive contracts in schools supported by Labor

My former student colleague NSW Liberal Party leader Barry O’Farrell finally rejects proposed electricity privatisations in his state and sides with the union thugs while Federal Labor’s Ear Wax Monster, Kevin Rudd, endorses earlier Liberal proposals to put schools of incentive contracts – money will be withheld if they do not provide decent academic outcomes – inviting […]

Congestion pricing again & again

The Victorian Government have again acted to close off debate on the possibilities for road pricing in Melbourne. I understand that most politicians are spineless but allowing the debate to develop on this issue while remaining nominally separate from it would not have hurt these politicians much. I presented my views on these issues with […]

Adjusting to carbon pricing – yes it hurts, but not that much

The BCA, Saturday’s Australian and many of the weekend newspapers have finally twigged to the notion that charging for carbon emissions will cause discomfit.  It will. Indeed, the objective of levying a carbon charge is to generate discomfit.  The type of discomfit that will motivate firms and consumers to use less energy, to switch to non-polluting […]

Taking a break from routine in Sydney

I am taking a brief respite in Sydney for a few days. I am presenting my paper ‘Some Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change’ (based on this and this) in the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at the University of Sydney on Friday 22nd August from 3-00 to 5-00 pm in the R.D. Watt Building. […]

Large US bank to fail claims Rogoff as RBA scrambles to reverse tough stance

Former chief economist at the IMF Kenneth Rogoff claims the world is only midway through a major financial crisis with the worst yet to come.  He forecasts a major US bank will fail as the bloated US financial sector restructures.  I wonder if Australia’s RBA have made the same inference with their recently unprecedented moves to preannounce […]

Medium term climate forecasts – tell the truth & promote understanding

I recently posted on the foolish claims of Andrew Bolt that climate change had ceased in 1998. Among the points I made was that Bolt had used work of a certain German institute to back his claims when elementary care would have showed Bolt that, although this institute had argued that the rate of growth […]

Winning isn’t everything

Joshua Gans is ‘over the moon’ because his daughter won a sports event. With some qualifications he asserts winning is everything. Its a very American attitude and one I don’t agree with particularly in relation to kids sport where I think the key objective for the vast majority of kids is to participate – to […]

Taxing Sin: some economics of smoking, gambling & booze (revision 1)

This is a draft of a paper I am preparing. Comments very appreciated.

There is a long history of governments taxing activities they disapprove of. In 1604, England’s King James I concluded that tobacco smoking was ‘a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lung’ […]

Animal rights & joys of libertarian dismissal of such

This Inside-Out China blog posting pours scorn on the notion of animal rights much to the delight of Jason Soon at Catallaxy. The Chinese sometimes have an insensitive way of dealing with animals but I am not surprised that libertarians oppose criticisms of people’s rights to do with non-human life what they like. It accords […]

Should we care about future generations?

In The Age on Saturday we got a fairly standard critique of the case for addressing the global warming costs faced by future generations. Instead, it was argued, we should concentrate on the economic needs of current people. According to the author, Mirko Bagaric, future generations are non-existent ‘uncertain’ people whereas current people are ‘certain’ people who deserve […]

Housing stock not part of wealth?

Willem Buiter has offered the provocative view that the stock of housing should (generally) not be included as part of net wealth. As The Economist remarks:

A shift in the value of housing does not affect household wealth in the aggregate, he says, because on average everyone is a tenant in his own home. A […]

Irreversible destruction of the Murray River’s lower lakes

The imminent destruction of the freshwater ecology of the lower lakes of the Murray River on the grounds that upstream freshwater supplies are insufficient to flush them out and that stored water suppliesin the river system must be safeguarded for human consumption might well be justified on triage grounds but it is nevertheless an alarming […]

Stephen King leaves ACCC, goes to Monash

The ACCC’s Stephen King has been appointed Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University.  Joshua Gans provides praise for the appointment of his co-author and business partner.

I hope this appointment is a success story for Monash – a university which, in my view, has not quite lived up to its considerable potential in the economics and business […]

Tipping Point on climate change?

An outstanding Four Corners show last night dealt with the melting of the summer pack ice in the Arctic as a consequence of global heating.  The reality of a ‘north west passage’ could become a reality by 2013 as the Arctic becomes ice free during the summer months.  The US, Soviet Union and Canada are engaged […]

Leadership of Liberals

It is obvious to me that Brendan Nelson will not lead the Liberal Party to the next federal election. His attempt to turn the emissions trading scheme debate into a mean spirited rejection of trading unless developing countries with a fraction of our energy consumption also commit to do so means that he will lose […]

No, global heating did not stop in 1998

I am constantly surprised how wrong arguments are repeatedly trotted out in policy debates. They can be relentlessly refuted but, like the weeds in my front lawn, they consistently reappear. Nowhere is this truer than in the climate change debate.

Andrew Bolt claims that climate change stopped in 1998 so that current policies to address […]