All would have seen the news that Andrew Leigh has won pre-selection for Labor for the Federal seat of Fraser. I am happy to join the chorus of approval for how terrific it is that someone with this intellectual quality is entering Australian prospects. Of course, that prospect is touched with a tinge of loss in that the wealth of economic research that Andrew continues to provide may well come to an end. But you can’t have everything.
Andrew has, of course, been a regular contributor to this blog for over a year since he returned from a brief stint at the Australian Treasury. We know from those long six months that commentary on economic policy — especially the evidence that might shed light on policy debates — was seriously lacking. And I am sure those with memories of that would have been worried about this comment the other day from Andrew:
For Core Economics, this may be my last post.
Well, it may be but that will be Andrew’s choice and one I hope he doesn’t make. Core Economics has two criteria for its contributors. First, that you are related in some way to Australian economics. Second, that you are an academic. Both are market positioning but the latter criteria is there because of values. Academics tend to be critical and when it counts to generate and disseminate independent views. Until such time as he is elected to Parliament (and you don’t need a prediction market to work out the odds of that) and resigns his Chair at ANU, Andrew will be a welcomed contributor here. He has consistently demonstrated independence of thought and while I don’t expect to see him criticising the Government here any time soon, I am sure all will be happy to see him continue to post just as he has done for so long now.
Core Economics places no restrictions on contribution and mandates no declaration of conflicts of interest. We leave it to individual contributors to moderate those and declare interests as they see fit. That lack of editorial restriction is the hallmark of blogging and bloggers maintain their own reputation and positioning. You will see an update to Andrew’s bio here but that is all.
And with that I would like to make a plea to mainstream media outlets, the Australian Financial Review and ABC Radio, to see if they can keep Andrew doing what he has been doing for them. By a long margin, Andrew Leigh provides the best economic commentary in Australia. His articles and insights are extremely informative and well thought out. He puts an enormous amount of effort in bringing them to us. These are not the economic times to be losing that contribution to the Australian conversation.