Posts Posts by: "Joshua Gans"

Possibly. First some context. I raised this issue a couple of years ago in a post here. It was motivated by new research in the US on the impact of cross-ownership by institutional investors on competition in US airlines. So ask yourself: when those shareholders vote on the composition of boards or the management…(Read More)

Now that the election is done and sorted and there isn’t a hung parliament, it is time for Australia to get on to the job of urgent policy-making. There are lots of areas in need of help but I am going to focus here on one close to my heart: broadband. By any…(Read More)

I have been following the Australian election at a distance and it is amazing how much more policy-centered it is than elections taking place here in North America. There are so many policies it is easy to miss some. Thankfully an alert Twitter follower noticed something familiar about the ALP’s new policy with…(Read More)

Magda Szubanksi said she would consider leaving Australia if the Productivity Commission’s recommendations regarding parallel importing of books were to come into place. Leaving aside the notion that leaving Australia would make absolutely no positive difference to her income with or without Australia’s current laws — her core market is still Australians — this is…(Read More)

Apple Pay is near ubiquitous in the US despite the relative lack of terminals to support them. But in Australia, those terminals are all over the place yet the only card accepted on Apple Pay is American Express; a card not issued by the major banks. Why? For those who don’t know, Apple Pay…(Read More)

I have been back in Australia this past week for the first time in over three years. Here are some brief impressions: The airports are great. Even better than before, Security is no issue (I passed through in 30 seconds) and Canberra airport is now fantastic — world class as they say. Why airline lounges…(Read More)

For those of us outside the US, the Trump entry into the US Presidential race so many months out from the actual election has been entertainment heaven. Sure, he is destroying the fabric of a great nation by bring horrific stereotypes and misinformation to the fore, but sometimes that is the price to pay for…(Read More)

The traditional textbook model of competition in an oligopoly goes likes this. Firms choose prices and other variables (like product quality, advertising and R&D) to maximise their own profits and disregard the impact of their actions on (a) competing firms and (b) consumers; although with the latter since they want them to buy…(Read More)

Possibly and so I am putting the question out there in the hopes a journalist might investigate. But first some context. In 2013, Redzo Mujcic and Paul Frijters (a frequent blogger here) published a study demonstrating unconscious discrimination on the part of bus drivers in Brisbane. Today, Ian Ayres took to the New York Times…(Read More)

Remembering Whitlam


Gough Whitlam was the first prime minister I was aware of. Actually, I recalled yesterday that I had seen every Australian Prime Minister since (up until the current one) in the flesh. What other country is that possible? I saw Whitlam for the first time, in the flesh as it were, when I was 5…(Read More)

Take note Australia


One of the more shameful acts of recent years was the failure of successive Australian governments to put in place marriage equality. Now it looks like the United States will get there first.To underscore this I command Judge Posner’s decision the other day striking down the Wisconsin and Indiana bans on…(Read More)

Kwanghui Lim posted a link to this post from Cloudfare on what they pay for transit around the world. As you will see from this table, Australia is the most expensive region — by a long, long way.And the reason:Australia is the most expensive region in which we operate, but for an…(Read More)

After slamming the last Government for not doing a cost-benefit analysis on the NBN, Malcolm Turnbull has produced the goods. My view on cost-benefit analysis remains unchanged: if you have already decided what to do, a cost-benefit analysis is of no help except for vindication.Nonetheless, there is another unintended consequence of…(Read More)

Last week I did an interview with Phil Dobbie for CommsDay on the ACCC’s approach to the setting of rates that carriers pay each other to terminate calls. I argued — as I did 15 years ago — that marginal cost rather than Total Service Long-Run Incremental Cost makes more sense and will generate more…(Read More)

This week the Australian government announced what seems to be an extraordinary piece of legislation. Spies who leak sensitive information will face tough new penalties of up to 10 years’ jail and internet firms could be forced to store customers’ data for up to two years under sweeping national security reforms. Prompted in part by…(Read More)

I have to admit that it saddens me that we are in 2014 and still need to lobby Australian politicians for something so blindingly obvious than a price on carbon but here we are. Coordinated by the World Wildlife Federation, today a letter signed by 59 economists (including myself) has been released. The text is…(Read More)

There are some of you who have subscribed to posts from this blog via email. The service used is a paid one (Feedblitz) but these days there are actually free ones that are the same, if not better. Consequently, I am going to discontinue that service. If you want to keep subscribing, please enter your…(Read More)

Successive Australian governments have rested on their laurels regarding reforming health insurance. However, Stephen King and I have always maintained that there was more to be done to ensure welfare gains at the margin. This is why we re-released our book, Finishing the Job, this year ($1 at Amazon and free on iBooks). Our…(Read More)

Whatever you might think about it, good or bad, there is ample evidence that, in countries all around the world, the rich are getting richer. Best-selling economist, Thomas Piketty, has confirmed it using a wealth of data, alongside an admittedly more controversial opinion that it will continue. But ultimately, whatever the concerns about wealth…(Read More)

I put my name this week to a letter organised by the WWF on airline emissions. Basically, while, in general, I am in favour of markets that allow meaningful offsets of emissions I am concerned that, in this instance, they do not appropriately offset the emissions generated (as evidenced by the very low costs associated…(Read More)

From what I can gather, Australian politicians and the media are gearing up for some good old hysteria with regard to cyberbullying. And as part of the process is a recourse to regulation of social media sites to apparently deal with the problem. For that reason, I thought I’d link to some reminders of…(Read More)

While most of the world think that Flappy Bird is fairly useless and without redeeming value, some think there is opportunity. Folks, thanks to my son, I bring you Flappy Economist. In it you control the money supply but you have to balance between the economy going between disastrous unemployment or rampant inflation. Of course…(Read More)

Ten years ago Stephen King and I wrote a book called Finishing the Job. It was published by Melbourne University Press who timed it to coincide with just missing a Federal election and another book of theirs also dealing with economic policy. Consequently, it did not get the interest we had hoped for. We continued…(Read More)

This is a guest post by Evan Calford, a PhD Student at UBC This post seeks to describe one particular concern with the implementation of the Australian Government’s Direct Action policy, as laid out in the recent Green Paper. There are many concerns with the Green Paper that have already been pointed out which…(Read More)

Top Posts of 2013


Each year I list the top posts from this blog. Here is 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Is QUT a real university? (Paul Frijters) Bitcoin and anonymous markets: the real revolution in market design (Rabee Tourky) Baby bonus: even as it exits poor implementation continues (Joshua Gans) Memory is money: transaction fees in…(Read More)

Given that this has reared its ugly head again, here is a repost of a post from April 2013. The ANU’s Glenn Withers has a plan to securitise HECS debt. Professor Withers told the HES the main advantage would be that the government “gets the money now”. Rather than waiting for graduates to pay…(Read More)

Ahh, Greg Hunt has got himself into a pickle by quoting Wikipedia on the causes of Australian bushfires. This amused me greatly and I wanted to write a post making even more fun of it. Sadly, I did what I am not expected to do as a blogger and listened to the whole BBC interview…(Read More)

Re-published from Medium Malcolm Gladwell has a new book out entitled David and Goliath. It is about underdogs and is based on the classic David vs Goliath setting in which a shepherd, David, defeats a giant, Goliath. I have yet to read the whole book — this isn’t a review — but in the very…(Read More)

Coasian thinking


Ronald Coase passed away yesterday. In his 102 years, he had an extraordinarily widespread impact on economics; especially its interactions with legal thinking. There is much discussion today about his contributions; in particular, was the Coase Theorem really a theorem and the Coase conjecture ever proved. But, in so many respects, those discussions miss the…(Read More)