Articles on Economic policy

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A view of Alexandra township, a slum overlooking the Sandton skyscrapers in Johannesburg. Addressing inequality has been a major challenge for South Africa. Reuters/Juda Ngwenya

Piketty’s contribution to unpacking inequality: timely and relevant

Will Thomas Piketty's visit to South Africa trigger the rewriting of the country's recent economic history? His analysis and ideas on how to address inequality are hard to ignore.
The main strategy of Modi’s economic advisers in the first year has been to treat the Indian economy as the proverbial elephant in the room. Xing Zhe CHINA OUT/EPA/AAP

No, India isn’t outpacing China, and other Modi myths

Mindful of the short attention span of voters, Modi's economic advisers have been careful to avoid selling economic policy as the answer to India's problems.
Australia’s GST is considered a regressive tax, so the idea of extending it to fresh food is considered unfair. A more detailed analysis reveals it’s not that simple. Charlotte90T/Flickr

Making the case for GST on fresh food

With the federal government’s review of taxation about to get underway, many are expecting Australia’s Goods and Services Tax to be up for change. In this GST series we take a closer look at the evidence…
How many Osbornes does it take to change an economic outlook? Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

If the economy is in good shape, why do wages keep falling?

An opinion poll taken in the wake of George Osborne’s Autumn statement reveals that just 27% of people think the British economy is in good shape. This was a decline compared to a survey taken just three…
From St Petersburg to Brisbane. The G20 leaders are expected to cover a lot of territory. Sergei Karpukhin/EPA/AAP

Success for the G20 Leaders’ Summit is …

Suppose that on the evening of November 16, the G20 leaders release a 25-page communique with hundreds of recommendations on global health, security, climate change, human rights etc. Would this be regarded…
Treasurer Joe Hockey plans to reignite the economic reform debate early next year, but will he tackle the bigger-picture changes many economists have called for? AAP Image/Lukas Coch

The economic crisis a complacent Australia has to have

In November 1990, then treasurer Paul Keating announced that Australia was in recession – and that it was “the recession we had to have”. Today, there are growing calls for serious, structural economic…
The B20 and G20 agendas are both focused on economic growth, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to avoid linking climate policy to the agenda. Aman Sharma/AAP

Abbott stands alone on climate policy and economic growth

In a speech delivered at ANU in April last year, then shadow environment minister Greg Hunt looked toward Australia’s host role for the G20 during 2014. Regarding climate policy he said Australia should…
Less cash to spend on artisan olives? Dan Cunningham

How to stop the middle class getting poorer and poorer

Since the 1950s, with a few rare exceptions in the 1970s, the middle class – all over the world – has been getting worse off. Specifically, the middle class’ purchasing power, as with that of the working…
Some pain, but the nation will benefit: Hockey’s first budget. AAP/Lukas Coch

Federal budget 2014: economists react

The Abbott government has laid out its path to reach a budget surplus near the end of the decade in the face of continued below-trend growth. Stopping short of making deep cuts in the coming years, Treasurer…
Youth Club? EPA/Andy Rain

Handle with care: Europe’s fragile jobs growth

Unemployment in the euro area finally seems to be showing signs of a timid recovery, according to the winter forecasts from the EU, but that doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. A bumpy ride lies…
The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting concluded with a growth ‘aim’ of 2% above current projections over five years. AAP/Jason Reed

G20 finance ministers agree to growth target: experts react

The G20 finance ministers, who have been meeting in Sydney this weekend, say economic grow is still below the rate needed to get people back into jobs. In a statement released at the conclusion of talks…
Australia is pushing for hard growth targets at this weekend’s G20 Finance Ministers meeting, but taxation is the elephant in the room. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Cut company taxes, boost innovation: OECD

Australia should cut company taxes and increase innovation to avoid falling behind in the productivity race, according to…
Treasurer Joe Hockey wants the G20 Finance Ministers to agree to hard economic growth targets, but not everyone is on the same page. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Hockey’s G20 growth targets can’t be one size fits all

Treasurer Joe Hockey this week revealed plans to push for quantitative economic growth targets from the G20 Finance Ministers, who are meeting in Sydney this weekend. But it’s unclear whether this mission…
Is this really the kind of society we want? zoomar

The happiness agenda makes for miserable policy

How happy do you feel today? How satisfied are you with your life? Do you think your life has any worth? These are the kind of questions increasingly put to survey respondents as academics and politicians…
Can - and should - the RBA intervene to lower the Australian dollar? Image sourced from

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…
On the hunt for rogue internet cafes. Niall Carson/PA

Is it really worth bugging? A guide to the G8

So what’s so special about this lot? Who decides which countries get to be in the gang? Can you get kicked out? How does it stack up against the G20? If spies were to listen in, would they hear anything…

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