Posts Posts by: "Paul Frijters"

It’s been a great 15 years in Australia for me and the family, so we will be leaving lots of friends and colleagues behind as we seek new adventures in London, where from next week onwards  I will be part of a Wellbeing centre, pretty much the same topic as the Australian Research Council…(Read More)

I am seeking a lawyer to run an Adverse Action case connected to the recent Fair Work Commission verdict that found systematic breaches of procedures and procedural fairness in the University of Queensland’s actions against me following my research on racial attitudes in Brisbane. I first raised these breaches late 2013, but they were…(Read More)

The deal yesterday morning between the Greek PM and the Eurozone Finance ministers is an agreement to reform before talks. By tomorrow evening, the Greek parliament has to accept 4 pieces of legislation on a large range of issues (pensions, labour markets, taxation), after which the other 19 Eurozone countries will start negotiations on another…(Read More)

The Greek referendum and the hype leading up to it have gone exactly according to my script of 8 days ago, where I predicted a resounding ‘no’ vote and a Grexit to stop the bank-run, with the other European politicians too offended and belittled by Tsipras and Varoufakis to organise another bailout. The Grexit…(Read More)

Greece owes the IMF 1.6 billion euro that it doesn’t have but is supposed to pay tomorrow. Unless the ECB lends it to the Greeks, effectively converting the IMF debt into an ECB debt, Greece is bankrupt tomorrow. In months to come, much bigger debt repayments are scheduled to the ECB-IMF in…(Read More)

[this was first posted on Clubtroppo 9 days ago. Since everything went to script after that, the text below is unchanged] After two weeks of a new government in Greece, a Greek exit from the Euro (termed a ‘Grexit’) looks more and more likely. The betting markets give it about 30% to happen this year…(Read More)

It’s the time of the mid-year Economic Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) and we’re told that we’re about 11 billion deeper in the red this financial year than we thought, with the treasurer blaming the dropping iron price and the reduced wage growth. I have gone over the MYEFO documents (which are an…(Read More)

Middle-East watchers have been surprised by the events in Syria and Egypt the last 2 years. The betting markets in 2011 and 2012 expected the collapse of the Syrian regime, but it didn’t happen. The West and most Al-Jazeera commentators thought the coup that deposed the Morsi-government was unsustainable and that…(Read More)

Geo-engineering is increasingly looking like the only politically viable way of averting temperature rises above 2 degrees in the coming century. This is for three interlocking reasons: i) Any mayor country can try geo-engineering on its own without permission from anyone else, meaning one does not need a world coalition sustained for centuries…(Read More)

Today the people residing in Scotland can decide whether they want to see an independent Scotland or to have Scotland remain in the UK. The betting markets concur with the opinion polls and favour the status quo: the markets give roughly 20% chance that the ‘yes’ vote will win and that Scotland will become independent…(Read More)

I came across an article in PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) with the catchy title ‘Female Hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes’. It is doing the rounds in the international media, with the explicit conclusion that our society suffers from gender bias because it does not sufficiently urge precautions when a…(Read More)

The Australian government education minister Christopher Pyne has made his wishes clear for the tertiary education sector: he is following the wishes of the GO8 Vice-Chancellors and wants to remove the caps from the HECS fees asked of domestic students. This seems to fit in a vision of greater competition for the sector, and…(Read More)

The French economists Thomas Piketty recently published a long-prepared book on the growth of inequality in the Western World over the last few centuries. His main contention, as I see it, is that wealth inequality is rising rapidly again and that we are returning to 19th century levels of inherited inequality, complete with ‘upper…(Read More)

My own university, the University of Queensland, has around 6 flagship courses that it puts online for free, in a deal that involves universities from around the world who put up the courses that they excel in. It typifies the current reality of online courses: it is free; it is relatively high-quality; and almost…(Read More)

Vanavil is a school for the poorest of the poor in the middle of Tamil Nadu, India. It started in 2005 as an orphanage/school for the children of two historically nomadic communities left stranded by the devastating tsunami of 2004. Many of the children of these two communities (the Narikuravar and Boom Boom Mattukarar…(Read More)

A new working paper (to be found here) by two PhD students in our school muses about whether firms optimise profits or returns-to-costs. Normally in economic papers you see the presumption that firms optimise profits, but from the point of view of investors allocating in lots of firms at the same time, it…(Read More)

In the last 5 years, I have made a point of giving clear predictions on complex socio-economic issues. I give predictions partially to improve my own understanding of humanity: nothing sharpens the thoughts as much as having to actually predict something. Another reason is as a means of helping my countries (Australia/the Netherlands…(Read More)

Last Monday I posted 4 questions to see who thought like a classic utilitarian and who adhered to a wider notion of ethics, suspecting that in the end we all subscribe to ‘more’ than classical utilitarianism. There are hence no ‘right’ answers, merely classic utilitarian ones and other ones. The first question was to whom…(Read More)

Economists are wedded to utilitarianism as their collective moral compass. This is why we speak of social planners, welfare, utility maximization, and quality of life. The essence of utilitarianism is that moral judgments are reserved for final outcomes, not the means via which those outcomes are achieved (unless people have preferences over those means). As…(Read More)

Do countries that are already rich become even happier when they become yet richer? This was the essential question on which I entered a gentleman’s bet in 2004 with Andrew Leigh and which just recently got settled. The reason for the bet was a famous hypothesis in happiness research called the Easterlin hypothesis which…(Read More)

{re-posted from Andrew’s blogsite. Well said, Andrew} I spoke in parliament yesterday in honour of two great Australian economists – Steve Dowrick and Paul Miller – who I worked with, and who died much too young this year. Steve Dowrick and Paul Miller, 2 December 2013 I rise this evening to speak about the passing…(Read More)

It is natural to think of our political leaders as either superhumanly clever and benevolent when we agree with them, or else dumb as dishwater and evil when we don’t agree with them. Yet, if one takes our own group-loyalty out of the picture, we can ask the simple question what kind of…(Read More)

Are you a top economics honours or masters student in Australia interested in behavioural economics issues, including field experiments, the causes of happiness, and the cultural barriers to peace and prosperity? Then read on. As part of an international research program into what makes regions and individuals prosperous and happy, I am looking for Australian…(Read More)

Have a look at the beautiful graph below, which depicts the main trends in Australian emissions and its promised emission reduction targets. Australia’s emissions trends, 1990 to 2020 Note: trajectories to the 2020 target range are illustrative The dotted orange line shows the amount of greenhouse gas that Australia’s economy produces. It depicts…(Read More)

What should Australia do about a slowly warming world? Join a small group of European countries who have more permits to sell than their own industry can manage to use? Join hands with a coalition of the desperate in enacting one of the front-runner geo-engineering solutions, such as emitting tiny reflective particles high…(Read More)

I remember the great bushfire in Canberra of 2003. I had only arrived with the family a week before and had just rented a nice house near the top of Mt Cook, right in the path of an enormous bushfire that ended up destroying hundreds of homes. The heat of that day was immense: 40…(Read More)