December, 2011

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Australian Exceptionalism

, Dec 08, 2011

Australian economic and social overview - wealth, income, distribution, growth and human development.
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Floods, prices and mortality

, Jan 17, 2011

With the flood waters receding in Queensland – giving us our first real look at the size of the damage involved – it might be worth going back and having a bit of a squiz at what happened on the economic front immediately following the last big South East Qld flood drama in January 1974. […]
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Cost Benefit delusions of the NBN

, Sep 17, 2010

Hands up if you’re a media commentator that has demanded the government undertake a cost benefit analysis (CBA) of the National Broadband Network? Keep your hand up if you have any idea at all about how to actually do one? If we were in a large hall right now filled with the nations media chirpers […]
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Want to double average income in 4 years?

, Sep 15, 2010

For that’s exactly what happened in the WA town of Ravensthorpe between the 2003/04 and 2007/08 financial years – driven by the construction and opening of the BHP Ravensthorpe nickel mine. Sadly for the residents of Ravensthorpe, the mine was mothballed shortly after opening as a result of weak nickel prices – but it highlights […]
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Lateral Economics – Stimulus partially pays for itself

, Aug 19, 2010

Yesterday, Lateral Economics released a piece of research that looked at some of the dynamics of the stimulus package as it flowed through the economy – particularly in terms of how that stimulus generated tax receipts for the government through the employment it supported, employment that wouldn’t have otherwise existed without the stimulus package. It’s […]
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The most important chart in the budget

, May 12, 2010

Tucked away in Budget Paper Number 1 is a fascinating little chart that is arguably the most politically important piece of data in the entire budget, as it justifies not just the very existence of the stimulus program and the political baggage that is coming with it, but also shows the likely consequences of the […]
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Relatively Speaking, How Big was our Budget Deficit?

, Sep 29, 2009

2.3% of GDP. But how big was it relative to our recent history? Here’s the underlying cash balance as a percentage of GDP for all Commonwealth budgets back to 1974/75. Red are the budgets Labor was responsible for, Blue for the Coalition. (click to expand) The 2008/09  deficit wasn’t that big, relatively speaking. Most of […]
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Unemployment by Electorate

, Jul 31, 2009

Here’s something to chew over for the weekend – let’s take the most detailed ABS Labour Force statistics available by geographic region from June 2009 and break that data down into three categories. 1. Where the derived unemployment rate has actually reduced since the last election (yes, as surprising as it might sound, such places […]
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Has good ALP polling boosted the Australian Economy?

, Jun 30, 2009

It’s only partially a tongue in cheek question. Newspoll has released their biannual poll on Living Standards that’s well worth a squiz – although The Oz seems to have ignored it for some reason. The poll was done over the weekend, so it has the same sample size of 1200 that we witnessed with the […]
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Good News on the Unemployment Front

, Jun 11, 2009

The headline numbers show the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate lifting from a revised 5.5% in April (revised up from 5.4%) to 5.7% in May. As we mentioned last time, the most important figure to watch was the new trend estimate for April – which came in at a revised 5.6% (with the May trend estimate […]
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A Warning on Tomorrow’s Unemployment Figures

, Jun 10, 2009

With the ABS releasing the May employment data tomorrow via its monthly Labour Force Survey, it might be worth pulling the rug out from under the inevitable stupidity that has accompanied the media commentary on the figures lately. Remembering back to the last data released for April, the ABS had unemployment reducing from 5.7% down […]

Fair Suck of the Sav -Unemployment, probability and the ABS

, Jun 01, 2009

Remembering back to last month when the unemployment figures were released by the ABS showing a fall from 5.7 to 5.4%, the howls of incredulity from economic firms that guessed wrong on this was deafening. The ABS unemployment figures are actually derived from a poll, albeit an enormous survey of around 41100 people, and it […]


, Mar 02, 2009

Remember when the Rudd government changed the Medicare surcharge Levy and the usual special interest pleaders, partisan interests and vending machine hacks all foretold of a massive collapse in private health insurance numbers? Remember recently when the data demonstrated that their crystal ball gazing was complete rubbish? Similarly, remember the hoo har about alcopops tax […]
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Stimulus Package Composition: Tax vs Infrastructure

, Feb 07, 2009

Just reading over the $42 billion stimulus package, it’s interesting to look at it’s composition by program. But even more interesting is to look at it in terms of its tax breaks and transfer payments vs its infrastructure and construction components as a whole. As we can see, the stimulus is front loaded for the […]
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Stimulus – Treasury 1, Dunces 0.

, Feb 05, 2009

This was me in Crikey earlier today – it’s in the free section so if you prefer reading things over there, please feel free. — An interesting thing happened on the way to Christmas last year – the $10.4 billion Economic Security Package not only worked, but worked nearly exactly as Treasury had forecast it […]
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NSW:The Economic Elephant in the Room.

, Jan 21, 2009

This was a piece that ran earlier today in Crikey. It’s in the free section, so if you prefer to read these things with the green sidebars, please feel free. Let’s imagine a world where utopia has arrived, where the most complex of problems can be solved by the most simple of actions – where […]

Now THAT is an Australian Economics Blog.

, Jan 19, 2009

Joshua Gans used to have a spiffy blog called Core Economics – now he has an even spiffier blog called Core Economics. Not only will Gans be doing his usual blog contributions, but added to the roll of authors are Stephen King, Mark Crosby, Kwanghui Lim, Sam Wylie, Justin Wolfers, Richard Holden and Christine Neill. […]
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The Statistical Reality of the Unemployment Figures.

, Jan 16, 2009

Are we all feeling appropriately shitscared by the coverage of yesterday’s unemployment figures? Well cheer up – the reality could actually be a lot better than what was reported, but so saying, it could also equally be a lot worse. As some of you may know (and some may not), the way the unemployment figures […]
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A Quickie on the Rights and Wrongs of Stats.

, Dec 05, 2008

Remembering back to our last two posts where we looked at how two demographics either impacted upon the ALP vote at the last election, or correlated strongly with something(s) that did, we were very careful to compare like with like – either a stock (the ALP TPP vote) with a Stock (the percentage size of […]
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Treading water on the real economy.

, Nov 18, 2008

This was me in the Crikey mail earlier today. The real economy is lukewarm to tepid, but not dead. For a country supposedly in the middle of an economic crisis so grave that it cannot be described without the obligatory passing mention of the Great Depression, yesterday’s ABS retail turnover figures were hardly the stuff […]