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Priorities for Reforming Taxes in the Road Transport Sector

Australia is a geographically large country with a dispersed though highly urbanised population. This creates intrinsically difficult – ‘tyranny of distance’ – transportation issues. Australia relies heavily on trucking as a means of transporting raw materials to population centres and ports but also experiences significant congestion in its capital cities. Traffic accident […]

Out-of-the-Box Policies for Australian Manufacturing?

Tony Abbott is the most opportunistic and morally bankrupt Liberal politician in a generation. He has no values, no ideals and will do or say almost anything to gain power. But his ambivalent musings on the case for thinking about a policy for addressing the problems faced by Australian manufacturing do raise concerns. I am […]

Invitation to Tax Summit

I always think it crass of people to ask to get invited to a party. In my life I have not received invitations on more than a few occasions so that generally, these days, I am miffed only momentarily. But I was crass enough* to seek an invitation to the Government’s October Tax Summit and, […]

Reunion & weekend in Sydney

I have been lazy on my blog-site for months now basically because of work commitments. Recently however the inactivity has reflected recreation rather than work.

I spent the weekend in Sydney attending the 50th anniversary of my high school – The Forest High. I started there in the second year of its operations, 1962. It […]

National Golf Course at Cape Schanck

I joined one of the best of the sand-belt golf courses in Southern Victoria today – The National at Cape Schanck. Its nice to be in the position where I have the time and the financial capability to enjoy such a beautiful set of courses. There are 3 at The National – the Old Course, […]

Rick Perry Worse than George Bush

The most likely person to be the next US president is Rick Perry. Perry is a foolish delusionist who cloaks his ignorance in God-talk and who makes George Bush look good by comparison on issues such as climate change. A dangerous fanatic.

This means that at a time of US/European and therefore global extreme economic […]


What is going on at Qantas? Is it just that high Australian costs are driving Qantas international broke so that it must move offshore? No management failures with respect to fleet management?

A bit of decent information about the extent of cross-subsidisation of JetStar from Qantas international would help.

” This morning’s media, like yesterday’s […]

University budget cuts with bureaucratic growth

There is currently gloom in many Australian universities because of the prospect of budget cuts and a claimed need* for financial stringency. In my experience Australian universities have a time-proven simple way of dealing with budgetary tightness – across the board cuts in expenditure applied to both profitable and loss-making university sectors or, as a […]

Stinking rich & richer than you

Brian Caplin reviews an interesting new work on happiness by Nick Powdthavee “The Happiness Equation”.

He is intrigued by the argument that unhappiness caused by income inequality should be remedied by moving towards more equal incomes.

“Finally, even if Mr. Powdthavee is right about the unhappy effects of income comparison, you shouldn’t conclude that redistribution […]

Congestion pricing in Netherlands

Environmental economists the world over are following with interest the trial of GPS-based congestion pricing in the Netherlands. Here charges are imposed on travel in a way that depends on the extent of congestion and route taken. Charges also depend on the fuel efficiency of the vehicle which captures in an approximate way the effects […]

Share-market roller coaster

Today was one of the strangest days on the share market I can recall. Values have dropped dramatically over recent days and weeks but by early morning today the market had dropped a further (dramatic) 5.5%. By the time the market closed it had increased 6.7% to be up 1.2% on the day! Your scribe […]

Fiscal multipliers

I’ve got to admit my macroeconomics is rusty. I got my PhD in this area but have worked almost entirely in applied microeconomics ever since.

I am worried however about the current debt ceiling outcome in the US mainly because, on the basis of long-held views, I am an old-fashioned Keynesian It does not make […]

Mining booms & Dutch Disease

The Corden Lecture was presented last night in Melbourne by Professor Ronald Findlay on the topic of Dutch Disease. Professor Max Corden was in fine form and gave a gracious introduction to the speaker. Findlay is one of the world’s leading trade thinkers. Although primarily a theorist he has recently written the monumental Power and […]

Population-size & the environment

These are the comments I made at a Productivity Commission Roundtable on a paper by Don Henry that was concerned with environmental population interactions. More generally I was concerned with synthesising a variety of approaches to this issue – from extreme libertarian ‘gains-from-trade’ arguments favouring a large population to extreme Malthusian arguments that supporters of […]

Australia’s carbon pricing strategies in a global context

This paper (here) written with Rob Waschik looks at the impacts of unilateral carbon pricing moves by Australia on Australian industry accounting for the effects of carbon leakages and international competitiveness losses. It was presented at the recent 40th Australian Conference of Economists 10-14 July, 2011 in Canberra. There are strong potential […]

Cigarette smoking in China

The Chinese government have embarked on an active campaign to reduce the incidence of smoking in China. About 1.2 million Chinese die annually from smoking-related and another 100,000 die from the effects of passive smoking. This paper, co-written with Ms. Bao Jia a student at Peking University, examines some of the main policy issues. The […]

Feral species & conservation values

It is almost a basic assumption of conservation biology that introducing exotic plant or animal species in a landscape degrades that landscape’s biodiversity value. The justification I have always accepted is that introducing new species without pre-existing predator-prey relationships can lead to ecological instabilities that drive certain species to extinction and reduce biodiversity values. The […]

Republican victory

I was pleased today that the value of my paltry stock portfolio rose with the announcement of a predicted agreement to increase the US public debt constraint. The move involves a forward commitment to substantially cut government spending and not to raise taxes. It seems like a fairly comprehensive Republican victory.

But it is a […]

Sovereign risk: Rio, bounced checks & a drug-crazed president

This story of extortion in the Third World had both grimly-amusing and horrifying aspects. Institutional failure and corruption as a major brake on economic development! A good theme for a movie but probably lacks believeability.