Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mounting housing stress underscores need for expert council to guide wayward policy making

Stronger, better-founded evidence about the nature and extent of the affordable housing problem may help build consensus about how to tackle it effectively. But the Abbott Government disbanded the National Housing Supply Council. Now the Opposition is talking about reinstating it. Hal Pawson (UNSW) and Oliver Frankel (UTS) why this may help.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is coal still cheaper than renewables as an energy source?

Coal-fired power is only cheaper than renewable energy where the capital cost of the plant is sunk. For new power facilities, renewables is already cheaper. A factcheck by Ken Baldwin (ANU) Dylan McConnell (Uni Melbelbourne) and Tony Wood (Grattan Institute)in The Conversation runs through the numbers.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Is Australia's economy really a world-beater?

The claim that Australia has  gone twenty-six years without a recession is true, but only if you accept three assumptions. Unfortunately, none of them has any official or intellectual basis. Tim Colebatch explains in Inside Story that that economics has no accepted definition of a recession. In public debate, the gap has been filled by the silly measure journalists love to use: a recession occurs when seasonally adjusted GDP goes backwards for two quarters.

Fancy government financing could still cost the taxpayer

Project financing should minimise the level of public subsidy needed to deliver the project; and where risk is borne by the private sector, it should be transparently priced and deliver clear value for money for the taxpayer. Marion Terrill (Grattan Institute) explains.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Do Australian banks have double the return on equity of banks in other developed economies?

Jim Minifie (Grattan Institute) checks, and Rodney Maddock (Monash University) reviews the Treasurer's claims that Australian banks have a return on equity about twice that of overseas banks. While they find that claim is true, its not because Australian banks are earning super profits - it's because the banks of the US and Europe were affected badly by the Global Financial Crisis and are still under-performing.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tax on ‘unearned gains’ is the missing piece of the affordable housing puzzle

Extending capital gains taxation to cover annual improvements in land value would improve discourage housing speculation and improve housing affordability. Brian Feeney (University of Queensland) explains.

Government spending from Howard to Turnbull

Alan Duncan and Rebecca Cassells (Curtin University) explain Commonwealth expenditure patterns since 1998.