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Australians should object to Malaysian laws

The Australian Government should protest the barbarism of the planned caning of a woman (Ms. Shukarno) for drinking beer in public. The punishment is a barbarous feature of unenlightened Islam. More fundamentally Australia should object to laws introduced by religious fanatics to terrorise women.


Using trade protection to promote local culture

The Federal Government might now back down on the Productivity Commission proposal to allow parallel imports of Australian produced books. Relying on price discrimination on the basis of less elastic local demands these books are sold at a premium to the prices charged overseas for the same books. Allowing the books to be imported would […]

Tax reform & road transport

I gave a talk on this topic tonight at the Victorian Branch of the Economic Society of Australia, Transport Forum. The powerpoints are here. Met some top transport analysts and some prospering ex-students. A good evening and a great meal afterwards in China Town. I agree that I have pushed this area hard on the […]

States, local government & transport sector pricing reforms.

It is obvious that state governments in Australia are fearful of pricing road use. This is so even though it is almost universally acknowledged that such policies make sense in terms of generating efficiency gains through reduced congestion and more effective use of roads by heavy vehicles. The backlash that the Brumby Government received from […]

Australian (& 1 NZ) pinot noir

In the pure interests of science I have been working my way though some local pinot noir wine over the past week. Like many pinot tragics I have wasted a lot of money and effort trying to purchase great French red burgundies mostly without a great deal of knowledge or with great success. I’ve scored […]

Chinese environmental exchanges: carbon trade preliminaries?

China must eventually curb its carbon emissions in absolute terms if aggregate GGEs are to be controlled.


Chrysanthemum tea

One of the habits I picked up during my recent month in China was drinking chrysanthemum tea. This tea is supposed to have various medicinal properties – to cure influenza, to provide anti-oxidants and to help deal with eye pain and discomfit – but the only reason I drink it is for the flavour. Chrysanthemum […]

Transport economics forum

I will be speaking in Melbourne on Transport Taxes and Congestion Pricing at the Transport Economics Forum at 5 PM Thursday 27 August – Reserve Bank Function Room.


Recent research on global dimming

In thinking about global pollution we often focus on greenhouse gas or perhaps ozone layer problems. In fact, there are several ways the world’s atmosphere is being altered and these have long been claimed to interact. Most of us have heard of global dimming – it was featured on the Four Corners program a few […]

Blog syntheses

I successfully transferred 1,594 posts and 8,101 comments from my previous Blogger account to the current WordPress platform. For some reason a few early posts were missed and the earlier graphics were transferred in miniature but now almost everything – back to February 2006 – is in one place.

As a separate issue I […]

Taxes & the Australian transport sector

The paper I co-wrote with Dr. David Prentice on “A Conceptual Framework for the Reform of Taxes Related to Roads and Transport” for Australia’s Future Tax System Review was released today. Comments are welcome.


Mankiw & Turnbull on climate change compensations

Gregory Mankiw argues that President Obama should refuse to sign any version of the Waxman-Markey Bill that does not auction off carbon emission permits. Our own Joshua Gans apparently agrees. The opposition is based on the notion that if permits are not auctioned that the lump-sum gains received by firms who get the permits will […]

China oversteps it on Rio & Kadeer

There are now absurd claims by China that bribery by Rio Tinto has cost it $123b over 6 years – more than the total value of iron ore exports by Rio to China. The absurdity of these claims is compounded by the anger of the Chinese given that the current contract price offered to China […]

Democracy in operation or irresponsible politicking?

Quadrant has outdone itself this time with a forum of views encouraging the Senate over the next week to reject the proposed ETS. It is in the main – not entirely – the same old denialist nonsense – the science is wrong, all due to the sun, the earth is cooling, the earth hasn’t heated […]

Robert Lucas on facile criticisms of economics in the face of the GFC.

Here. We are getting glib critiques of economics (and particularly of the EMH) in the wake of the fast-receding GFC. RL sets things straight.

Let me take an excerpt from The Economist:


Recent GGE trends

I found this particularly useful. My only question relates to the recorded reduction of growth in energy related GGEs from 2007 to 2008 from 2.8% to 1.8%. This seems too abrupt even given the recession ! Coal now dominates oil and China, whose use of coal is growing at 7.1% annually is dominating recent aggregate […]

Estimating instantaneous traffic congestion costs

In commenting on an earlier thread Paul H cited a graphic showing how the Chinese know what the short-run travel times are in a vast city like Beijing. It is apparently based on the (real time) travel times of 10,000 taxis in the city. It provides a guide to instantaneous marginal congestion costs based on […]

Attacking Turnbull

The pursuit of Malcolm Turnbull should now cease. It is clear that Godwin Grech – a formerly respected public servant who ran the OzCar policy for Labor – provided a false email to Turnbull that was the basis of Turnbull’s attack on Swan and Rudd and which therefore distorted this attack. The Labor Party is […]

Braess paradox

One of the pretty results of road supply theory is that if you add extra links to a road network you can make everyone on the network worse off. Equivalently closing down links can improve all traffic flows. JB pointed me to this nice exposition. It is called the Braess paradox and its a well […]

IPPC Reports worth reading

The best source of information on climate change that I am aware of comprise the 3 IPCC reports (The Physical Science Basis; Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability and the most recent Mitigation and Climate Change). All are available free online though their volume makes the relatively expensive printed versions of these reports of further value. The […]