Articles on Economics

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People should not be hungry with the food, resources, and technology at our disposal. PA

Staying alive shouldn’t depend on your purchasing power

How much would you pay for staying alive? How much would you pay for breathing pure air? That may seem a silly question since air is everywhere, accessible to all. Air is a global public good, part of…
Will the credit card cover this? ben_osteen

Time to stop inflating the household debt bubble

Household debt in the UK recently hit a record high, surpassing the previous peak reached in September 2008. That was the month when Lehman Brothers collapsed, sparking off the global financial crisis…
Ross Garnaut’s Dog Days confronts the issues of productivity and tax reform, but is short on solutions. Lukas Coch/AAP

Book review: Garnaut’s Dog Days

In 1991, Michael Pusey unleashed Economic Rationalism in Canberra: A Nation-building state changes its mind. In his book, Pusey took aim at the Canberra econocrats who ruled the key federal government…
This is economics, too. Paul Faith/PA

Time to stop ignoring feminist economics

Economics has been heavily criticised for being unnecessarily complex, unresponsive to criticism, and unable to predict and respond to major financial crises. Recently, we have seen calls for a broader…
Can - and should - the RBA intervene to lower the Australian dollar? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Intervene or wait? The RBA faces tricky path to a lower dollar

Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens has again weighed in on the value of the Australian dollar, telling a group of economists the bank is open to the idea of intervening to bring its value down. With the…
Forgot your calculator? Michael Probst/AP

Economics must reform, but data can’t tell us everything

In the five years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the discipline of economics has had an uncomfortable spotlight turned on its inner workings and assumptions. Movements such as Occupy have passionately…
Efficient or irrational? BasicGov

Economics Nobel reveals three approaches to markets

This year, the Nobel prize in economics went to three researchers for their contributions to the field of empirical and theoretical finance. This is not the first time the committee has honoured work in…
Just don’t ask economists for the solution. Dominic Lipinski/PA

Economics Nobel must acknowledge the global financial crisis

The 2013 winners have now been announced. David Spencer responds in a postscript at the bottom of this article. What are economists for? Well, one obvious answer is to “do economics”, defined in the academic…
Bearers of bad news: Treasurer Chris Bowen and Finance Minister Penny Wong deliver the government’s economic statement.

Economic statement: experts respond

A slowing economy and drop in government revenue has led to an increased budget deficit, new taxes and some cuts to existing programs. Delivering the Rudd government’s long awaited economic statement…
Bankers forgot how to be clever. Scott Ableman

Banking report suggests a cure for stupidity epidemic

For a brief period of time in the 1980s, one of the biggest selling t-shirts carried a print of an arrow which simply said “I’m with stupid”. It pointed to the person next to the witty wearer. In the 1990s…
The Bank of England: still the key to growth? Yui Mok/PA

Ignore the calls for stimulus and stick with Plan A

Many critics of the coalition government’s “Plan A” argue that it should deviate from deficit reduction plans to instead stimulate growth via additional infrastructure spending. Recent advocates of this…
Treasurer Wayne Swan has unveiled an $19.4 billion deficit, but promises to be back in surplus by 2016-17. AAP

A long slide towards debt leads to Wayne’s budget swansong

How did the Australian economy, which boasts the best performance of the major advanced economies, end up with an estimated budget deficit of A$19 billion this year and an estimated debt of $178 billion…
Can economics really describe love? Well, it starts with greed… Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Economics: what’s love got to do with it?

Economists understand greed very well; after all, the urge to get rich is our discipline’s main explanation for human actions. Economists further recognise that greed can be good. When our greedy urges…
An influential economics paper — which has now been shown to have several methodological flaws — was used by policymakers to justify austerity drives around the world. AAP

Economists, an Excel error, and the misguided push for austerity

The economic literature is full of excellent articles that are not read outside small academic circles. There are, however, important exceptions. “Growth in a Time of Debt”, by Carmen R. Reinhart and Kenneth…

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