Andrew Leigh and blogging

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.

3 thoughts on “Andrew Leigh and blogging”

  1. If Andrew waits ‘until such time as he is elected to Parliament’ – or even until such time as he nominates for election – to resign his ANU chair, then that will guarantee his immediate return to academic blogging (and the eternal hatred of the Labor Party.) See s. 44(iv) of the Constitution.

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  2. This is a bit of an odd post. Andrew’s contribution to economic policy discussions is indeed excellent. But one of the the things that facilitates that excellence is his freedom to express his own views (often supported by his own research) across a range of topics. That freedom will be extremely curtailed as a Labor MP, which will inevitably make his op-eds and blogging far less interesting. Many of the positions he has supported either as a result of his own research or reading of the relevent literature don’t sit comfortably with existing ALP policy (take the minimum wage research for example). So, he cannot keep doing what he is doing without jeopardising his long term future within the party. That is the tradeoff he has accepted. Sure, he can still write for blogs and contribute op-eds, but it cannot and will not be the same.

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  3. Not really.

    What he has done is history and people voted for him anyway.
    It makes no sense if he continued to say things like this they would suddenly change.

    on the other hand if AL wants a ‘political’ future he would have to curtail such endeavours.

    However he could continue to press such issues believing in time the party will eventually have to change. He simply would have to give up ambitions for CabinetĀ 

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