Sinclair Davidson and Ashton de Silva argue in the current issue of Agenda (here) that there is no evidence that the plain packaging legislation works. They base this finding on an inspection and analysis of data from 2001 to quarter 1 2014.
Articles from Harry Clarke
For years I have struggled to understand the idea that clearance rates are a useful indicator of the demand dynamics of the home auction market – this is an example of this type of story. A house will be sold when the minimum acceptable price to the seller (vendor price) is exceeded by the maximum price a buyer will pay (the buyer price).
Enjoyed this article - and the video – by Steven Pinker on the history of violence both from ancient times through to the “Long Peace” after 1945. In almost every respect the world has grown less violent through history and the decline has been most marked after 1945.
An interesting feature of the proposed Australia China free trade agreement is that so little is at stake. Most of Australia’s exports to China and most of China’s exports to Australia are tariff free. The catch is the restriction on Chinese purchases of Australian housing and land and Chinese foreign investments generally which are subject to discriminatory restrictions. But if Australia reduced these restrictions what could China offer in return? Well, not much.
I have been thinking about empathy and reading the psychologist Paul Bloom on this. Empathy is a type of bias – it evokes compassion for those close to us and to a lessor extent to those we can see but who need not be at all close to us in terms of actual ties – e.g. asylum seekers. It leaves unconsidered those facing peril in other countries (or awaiting resettlement in refugee camps in other countries) even though these people may face greater peril than asylum seekers.
I am doing the Professor Paul Bloom course “Moralities of Everyday Life” for credit from Coursera. This is an approach to ethics based on psychology. Paul is a very talented lecturer (and author) based at Yale. Weekly assignments are online and students are identified from their typing style and using photographic imaging.
I am speaking on “Australian Asylum Seeker Policy: An Economist View” at an Amnesty International meeting 8th October, 2014 at John Scott Meeting House, La Trobe University 6-00pm. This is an earlier paper I drafted on this issue. Comments welcome.
The Harper Competition Review has again raised the case for road pricing. It is frustrating to me that after 20 years of working in this area many economists don’t get the economic basis for road pricing right.
This measure – discussed in today’s AFR – is (apart from its cost-recovery role*) is effectively an export tax on housing. As such it will diminish the gains from international trade in Australian property markets. It will however (in accord with the standard theory of export taxes) reduce the price of property to Australian consumers.