About this podcast
Hard-headed economic analysis applied to important economic, social, and environmental issues.
About this podcast
Hard-headed economic analysis applied to important economic, social, and environmental issues.
Decarbonizing the Economy
Economics Explored host Gene Tunny talks about the big challenge of decarbonizing economies to respond to climate change. Among other issues he considers the uncertainty around the impacts of climate change, the future of coal, and optimal policy responses to climate change. Relevant links include: A Study of Long-term Global Coal Demand by Queensland Treasury Structural Adjustment Policies Becoming Increasingly Important Apocalypse Never Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates The Spirit of Green by William Nordhaus
Business cases for public infrastructure projects
Discusses the requirements and process for the development of public infrastructure business cases in Australia, with a case study of a current business case process relating to an irrigation dam which program host Gene Tunny is involved in. While Australian examples are used, the insights and lessons are relevant internationally. In many respects, Australian processes and requirements for developing public infrastructure business cases are world-leading. Links relevant to the conversation: Business Case Development Framework of Building Queensland Paradise Dam Improvement Project $2.4 billion cost to economy if Paradise Dam not fixed Australian lungfish
Economics and Religion
A conversation on economics and religion, including on whether Jesus was a socialist and whether religion influences economic growth. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Darren Brady Nelson, Chief Economist of LibertyWorks, an Australian libertarian think tank, and a policy advisor to the Heartland Institute. Links related to the conversation Darren's articles on religion and economics: Murray Rothbard on Christianity, Catholicism, and theology Christian liberty: are you serious?? Other material: HuffPo article: Jesus was a Socialist Rendering Unto Caesar: Was Jesus A Socialist? The Tribute Money (Titian) Is 'Render unto Caesar' really about taxes? Religion and Economic Growth Why is the Lord’s Day celebrated on Sunday instead of Saturday?
Missing Middle Housing & other urban planning issues
Cities such as Portland, USA are pushing back against NIMBYism and embracing medium-density development, the so-called Missing Middle Housing, while others such as Brisbane, Australia, are discouraging it. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Australian urban planning expert Natalie Rayment about the economic and social costs and benefits of urban planning/zoning rules. About this episode's guest - Natalie Rayment, Executive Director of Wolter Consulting Natalie has built a career in town planning over the last 25 years. Her experience in both the private and public sector has culminated in her role as Executive Director of Wolter Consulting Group. Natalie is a Registered Planner with the Planning Institute of Australia, a recognised expert town planning witness to the Court and specialises in statutory planning and development facilitation. Natalie is also a Member of the Property Council 2019/2020 Retirement Living Committee and Deputy Chair of the HIA Qld Planning Committee. In early 2016, Natalie co-founded YIMBY Qld, a not-for-profit public interest organisation, saying yes in my back yard to good development that makes for better living. And in 2019, she joined the Board of Beddown as Deputy Chair. Beddown is a charitable organisation providing pop-up accommodation hubs for those who are most vulnerable. Relevant links Natalie's LinkedIn post on Missing Middle Housing The Economist on House prices are going ballistic The Effect of Zoning on Housing Prices 5 Things You Should Know About Portland's New Housing Reform The High Cost of Free Parking Cutters Landing History
Female Breadwinning with Prof. Gigi Foster
Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Professor Gigi Foster of the University of NSW about her research on female breadwinning, where a woman earns more than her male partner. What does female breadwinning mean for relationship satisfaction and longevity? Does thinking about partnership formation as taking place in a market help us understand relationship choices and dynamics? About this episode's guest - Professor Gigi Foster Gigi Foster is one of Australia’s leading economics communicators and a Professor at the UNSW School of Economics. She was named 2019 Young Economist of the Year by the Economic Society of Australia. A Professor in the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales, she was awarded a national Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2017. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States, she received her BA from Yale (majoring in Ethics, Politics, and Economics), and her PhD in economics from the University of Maryland. Relevant links Does Female Breadwinning Make Partnerships Less Healthy or Less Stable? An Economic Theory of Greed Love Groups and Networks
Freeing Fiscal Policy from political tinkering with Dr Nicholas Gruen
In a March 2021 Financial Times article Dr Nicholas Gruen proposed an independent fiscal policy advisory body so that fiscal policy is freed from political tinkering. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Dr Gruen about his proposal in this episode. Dr Gruen is CEO of Lateral Economics and a Visiting Professor at King's College, London. He has advised Australian Government Ministers, including an Australian Treasurer, and is a renowned angel investor (e.g. in Kaggle which was acquired by Google). Dr Gruen blogs regularly at Club Troppo. Links relevant to the conversation include: Dr Gruen's FT article: Fiscal policy should be freed of political tinkering Dr Gruen's 2001 OECD Journal of Budgeting paper: Greater Independence for Fiscal Institutions Edmund Burke quote
The Olympics - economic boon or burden?
Brisbane, Australia looks set to host the 2032 Olympics. It's claimed there's a new model for delivering Olympics which will mean the host city will actually benefit from it. But can the claims be believed particularly given the experience of previous host cities such as Montreal and London, and when there are secret meetings of the City Council to finalise the bid? Economics Explored host Gene Tunny discusses the economics of the Olympics with Dr Alistair Robson, who is an adjunct senior lecturer with the University of NSW. Links relevant to the conversation include: Councillors to be briefed on secret Olympic bid details before vote James Gieseke and John Madden study of Sydney Olympics in 2000 4 legacies of the 1976 Montreal Olympics you probably didn't know about | CBC News Australia's Queensland state will bid for 2032 Olympics (re. KPMG's economic impact estimates) 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Value Proposition Assessment
Running the Numbers on COVID-19 Measures with Prof. Peter Swan
One year on from when many countries started imposing tough COVID-19 control measures, Economics Explored host Gene Tunny asks eminent Australian finance Professor Peter Swan whether lockdowns pass a cost-benefit analysis test. Professor Swan says he stands by his view expressed last year that they do not. Listen to this episode to hear why Prof. Swan believes this is so. About this episode's guest - Professor Peter Swan Professor Peter Swan AO FRSN FASSA is currently in Banking and Finance, UNSW-Sydney Business School. Peter completed his Honours Economics Degree at ANU, his PhD at Monash and after a visiting position at the University of Chicago, joined the Economics faculty at ANU, then to a chair at AGSM (UNSW), and was foundation professor in the Finance Department at the University of Sydney prior to returning to UNSW in 2002 with a Scientia Professorial Award in 2003. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 1997 and gained recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours lists in 2003 and 2016 with the Order of Australia (AM) and (AO), respectively. In 2018 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (FRSN). His Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) Citation states: “For distinguished service to finance and commerce as a leading academic, journalist, and commentator on domestic investment, and on a range of political and economic issues.” His Member of the Order of Australia (AM) Citation states: “For services to academia as a scholar and researcher and through contributions to public policy in the fields of economics and finance”. Links relevant to this episode Prof. Swan's Quadrant article Run the Numbers, Survey the Folly Open letter from 122 Australian economists: don't sacrifice health for 'the economy' (which Prof. Swan critiques in his Quadrant article and in this episode) COVID-19 deaths worldwide per million population as of March 19, 2021
Anarcho-capitalism and a Libertarian analysis of COVID with Prof. Walter Block
What is Anarcho-capitalism? And what would a libertarian analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic tell us? Economics Explored host Gene Tunny has a thought-provoking conversation with Loyola University's Professor Walter Block, whose Wikipedia entry describes him as "an American Austrian School economist and anarcho-capitalist theorist." Regarding anarcho-capitalism check out Walter's books: The Privatization of Roads and Highways Defending the Undefendable Mentioned in the discussion is the Homestead principle associated with John Locke. Regarding COVID-19, check out Walter's 2020 paper: A Libertarian Analysis of the COVID-19 Pandemic Also on COVID-19, check out this podcast discussion mentioned by Gene in his conversation with Walter: Lord Sumption: mass civil disobedience has begun
The role of the Treasury in Economic Policy with Paul Tilley
A conversation on the importance of the Treasury department to government and economic management. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Paul Tilley about his 2019 book Changing Fortunes: A History of the Australian Treasury. Paul Tilley was an economic adviser to governments for 32 years, working at senior levels in all parts of Treasury, as well as other key agencies such as the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasurer’s office and the OECD. He is now a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School, a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University Tax and Transfer Policy Institute and works with a number of non-government organisations. Here's Paul's Melbourne Law School profile and here's Paul's ANU profile. Finally, here's a link to the Wikipedia article on the trillion-dollar coin Gene alludes to in the conversation. Get in touch Get in touch with Economics Explored host Gene Tunny with any comments, suggestions, or questions by emailing him via: email@example.com
Insights from behavioural economics & science regarding COVID responses
QUT's Dr Stephen Whyte speaks with Economics Explored host Gene Tunny about insights from behavioural economics and science regarding COVID responses. Stephen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Behavioural Economics in the School of Economics & Finance, QUT. His research focus explores large scale decision making in mate choice settings. His work takes a multi-disciplinary approach in studying key sex differences in human behaviour, with work that bridges the fields of applied micro-economics, personality & social psychology, and evolutionary biology. His most recent research has explored such diverse topics as sex differences in nonbinary gender identification, male & female decision making in assisted reproductive & donor insemination medical environments, and preferences vs choice in cyber dating markets. Material relevant to the discussion Stephen's co-authored paper: Can Psychological Traits Explain Mobility Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic? Stephen's Brisbane ABC radio interview: COVID lockdowns prove Aussies aren't larrikins after all Economics Explored interview with Stephen's colleague Prof. Benno Torgler: Certified Corona-Immunity as a Resource with Prof. Benno Torgler Get in touch Get in touch with Economics Explored host Gene Tunny with any comments, suggestions, or questions by emailing him via: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fed and Inflation Targeting
Economics Explored host Gene Tunny discusses the US Fed's new approach to inflation targeting with Michael Knox, the Chief Economist of leading Australian wealth management firm Morgans. The approach implies the Fed will allow the economy to run hot for a while during the recovery from the pandemic recession. The conversation revolves around Michael's recent note: The Fed - Allowing the economy to run hot Other links relevant to the conversation include: Powell announces new Fed approach to inflation that could keep rates lower for longer Boskin Commission Report FRED yield curve data showing steepening yield curve over late 2020/early 2021, as longer-term rates/yields (e.g. 10-year Treasury bond yield) increase relative to shorter-term rates (e.g. Federal Funds Rate) Michael Knox on Quantitative Easing as a long-term strategy Robert Heller's 1976 paper on International reserves, money, and global inflation
Industry Assistance and Crony Capitalism with Darren Brady Nelson
Economics Explored host Gene Tunny is joined by Darren Brady Nelson of LibertyWorks and the Heartland Institute to discuss the economics of industry assistance or so-called corporate welfare. Gene and Darren also consider the concept of crony capitalism. This episode’s topic was prompted by an interview request host Gene Tunny had from an Australian ABC journalist regarding the Australian Government’s generous tax incentives for the film industry (e.g. check out Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s July 2020 announcement New $400 million incentive to boost jobs for screen industry). In 2019, Gene and Darren co-authored a paper on bad spending decisions made by the state of Queensland, Australia for Tax and Super Australia’s Special Centenary Publication: Government Waste, and identified generous spending on Screen Queensland and the state government paying for the construction of a new sound stage at Village Roadshow studios on the Gold Coast. Gene has previously written extensively on film industry assistance in Australia - e.g. this 2017 Centre for Independent Studies Policy paper: The case against film industry subsidies. On the experience of other jurisdictions with subsidies to the film industry, check out this Advocate article: Film tax break costs Louisiana millions, new study shows. Regarding what a refundable tax credit is, check out the IRS website. On trends in industry assistance in Australia, check out the Productivity Commission’s Trade and Assistance Review. Finally, check out Dan Mitchell’s write up of Milton Friedman’s matrix which Darren and Gene discuss in the episode. About this episode’s guest Darren Brady Nelson is an Austrian school economist who serves as the chief economist at LibertyWorks and as an associate scholar with the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. Nelson is also a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. Since 1994, Nelson has worked as an economist in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. Nelson’s work in economics has focused on the energy, finance, government, transportation, water, and telecommunications industries. Nelson has also worked as a political and policy commentator since 2009. As a commentator, Nelson has written articles for numerous conservative and libertarian publications and think tanks, and he has appeared on countless podcasts, radio shows, and television programs. He is the author of the book Ten Principles of Regulation & Reform (Connor Court 2017), and is frequent public speaker and media commentator. Nelson has bachelor’s degree in economics (cum laude) from the Australian National University, where he majored in economic history. Nelson also earned a master’s degree in commerce (magna cum laude) from the University of New South Wales, where he majored in business law.
Fiscal Stimulus with Prof. Fabrizio Carmignani
A conversation on fiscal stimulus and the government spending multiplier with Professor Fabrizio Carmignani, Dean (Academic) of Griffith Business School. Fabrizio and Economics Explored host Gene Tunny discuss: how the size of the multiplier (and the degree of crowding out) varies with the state of the economy; how vouchers might be a more effective stimulus than cash handouts; how governments really do need to run surpluses (or only very small deficits) when the economy recovers so the debt-to-GDP ratio can be stabilised and reduced in the long-term; and how Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) isn't a theory, nor is it modern. Links relevant to the conversation include: Does Government Expenditure Multiply Output and Employment in Australia? Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion How Much Did the 2009 Australian Fiscal Stimulus Boost Demand? Evidence from Household-Reported Spending Effects Fabrizio's bio Fabrizio Carmignani is Dean (Academic) and Professor of Economics in the Griffith Business School. His research is in the broad field of applied macroeconomics and applied econometrics. His recent publications are in the areas of conflict economics, tourism economics, policy modeling, spatial econometrics, and the economics of natural resources. He has also been appointed as a member of the ARC College of Experts from 2019 to 31 December 2021. He is a regular contributor to various media outlets, where he writes and speaks about fiscal and monetary policy issues in Australia and overseas. Between 2002 and 2009 he worked for the United Nations in various roles, including the position of First Economist in the Trade, Finance and Economic Development Division of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Fabrizio holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow and a Research Doctorate from the Universita' Cattolica in Milano.
Foreign Direct Investment & Productivity
To what extent does Foreign Direct Investment create spillovers that boost the productivity of domestic businesses? Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with the authors of a recent study addressing this question: Sara McGaughey, soon to take up a position as Professor at Copenhagen Business School, and Professor Pascalis Raimondos, Head of the School of Economics and Finance at QUT Business School in Brisbane, Australia. Sara and Pascalis have taken advantage of the huge Orbis business database which has allowed them to construct a panel dataset of nearly 576,000 manufacturing firms across 20 European countries. They find evidence that controlled foreign firms can boost the productivity of other firms in the same industry (horizontal spillovers), while previous studies had only convincingly found evidence of vertical spillovers, between foreign affiliates and their domestic suppliers. The study is titled Foreign Influence, control, and indirect ownership: Implications for productivity spillovers and was published in July 2020 in the Journal of International Business Studies. The authors can be contacted regarding their research via email@example.com To get in touch with Gene, and to ask any questions or provide any comments or suggestions, please email him via firstname.lastname@example.org Links relevant to the conversation How hiring this man gave Brisbane company an instant $100m windfall Tesla’s 100% American Owned Factory In China Is A Big Deal Note from Pascalis and Sara on examples of indirectly controlled firms Below are two examples from our dataset where the foreign subsidiary is immediately owned by a firm resident in the same country, but ultimately owned (i.e. controlled with more than 50% voting equity) by a single foreign owner (i.e. the ultimate owner). In studies that look for an immediate direct foreign owner (rather than the ultimate owner) to identify a firm as ‘foreign’, our example firms will be classified as domestic – leading to significant mis-categorisation of what is a foreign firm. As you can see from our ‘egg’ figure in the paper, there are just as many of these ‘typically hidden’ foreign firms as those captured under an ‘immediate direct foreign owner’ definition. EXAMPLE 1 Name: GTS Industries ID: FR331620096 Country: France Owner ID: FR562094425 Owner Name: ARCELORMITTAL FRANCE Owner Country: France The biggest direct owner is registered in France. Hence the company would be defined as domestic under the traditional (10%, influence) definition Ultimate Owner ID: DE7290116150 Ultimate owner name: DHS DILLINGER HUETTE SAARSTAHL AG Ultimate Owner country: Germany EXAMPLE 2 Name: STE DES ACIERS D'ARMATURE POUR LE BETON (SAM) ID: FR389517061 Country: France Direct Owner: River Acier Direct Owner ID: FR344733803 Direct Owner country: France Direct owner in the same country as the company, wherefore it is defined as domestic Ultimate owner: ITMI0840952 Ultimate owner name: Riva Family (PARTECIPAZIONI INDUSTRIALI S.P.A.) Ultimate owner country: Italy
Retail is Detail with Bruno Cortigiani of Merlai
How the retail sector has been transformed over the last two decades and how emerging retailers can thrive with high-touch service, customisation, and an optimised global value chain. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny speaks with Bruno Cortigiani, owner of up-and-coming made-to-measure menswear retailer Merlai. Check out Merlai on Instagram: @merlaiofficial Relevant links include: Photo of Bruno at the microphone for the podcast recording Start with Why - Simon Sinek's TED talk The E Myth Revisited Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to DoAbout It Fletcher Jones (Australian entrepreneur) [NB toward the end of the episode, Gene spoke of the top of his head about the historical Fletcher Jones and didn't get the story right]
The Circular Economy with Craig Lawrence
The concept of a Circular Economy is increasingly being mentioned in economic and environmental policy discussions. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny chats with Craig Lawrence of Lytton Advisory about what a Circular Economy would look like, and whether it is compatible with rational economic thinking. The takeaway is that there is some merit in the Circular Economy concept, but we need to apply hard-headed economic thinking when it comes to the specifics. Toward the end of the conversation, Craig notes: I think that there's an opportunity here [with the Circular Economy]. The linear concept, I don't think is sustainable. And so we need to do something different. But I don't think that there's a blanket solution or an easy panacea. And I still think the economist in me wants to analyse and collect data, and look at individual markets and look at specific opportunities and weigh them up…I don't want to be running or pushing a green solution for the sake of a green solution. I want to know that it's something that is actually workable, viable, something that is going to increase economic utility, consumption, and can also engage with business properly as well. About this episode’s guest Craig Lawrence is the Founder and Managing Director of Lytton Advisory Pty Ltd (2013 – present). He is also a founding Director of UTL Utilities Pty Ltd (2018 – present). He has over 30 years of experience across government and private sector projects, particularly in infrastructure, transport, and tourism. Between December 2018 and September 2019, Craig led the Economic and Social Infrastructure Program as its inaugural Managing Director. This $130m Australian program supports the planning, prioritisation, and delivery of key energy, telecommunications and water infrastructure in Papua New Guinea. Prior to establishing Lytton Advisory, Craig was Director – Infrastructure Policy at the Queensland Government Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning where he led a team of policy and regulatory analysts and economists looking at infrastructure prioritisation and resource region supply chain optimisation. He was previously Director – Economic Policy within the Department. Craig’s previous roles include as a senior consultant in several professional service firms and as an economic analyst in the Queensland and Australian Federal Government systems. His federal government experience includes extended periods in economic analyst and policy roles in the Treasury, Transport and Tourism portfolios during the 1990s. Links relevant to the conversation The Circular Economy in detail Australia’s National Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme 'Right to repair' taken up by the ACCC in farmers' fight to fix their own tractors Crude Oil Prices - 70 Year Historical Chart
Financing the COVID-19 Government Debt
Dr Begoña Dominguez speaks with Economics Explored host Gene Tunny about her recent video on Financing the COVID-19 Government Debt. Begoña Dominguez is currently Associate Professor at the School of Economics, University of Queensland. Her research interests are in the area of macroeconomics and, more specifically, in the design of optimal fiscal and monetary policies. Her research has been published in top journals in economics, such as Journal of Monetary Economics and Journal of Economic Theory, among other outlets. In her video, Begoña outlines three thought provoking proposals to assist with financing the COVID-19 government debt, specifically: 1. coordinated fiscal and monetary policies with a temporary lift in the inflation target, along the lines of what was suggested by Bianchi, Faccini, and Melosi (2020) Monetary and Fiscal Policies in Times of Large Debt: Unity is Strength 2. social contract, whereby an evaluation is done after the pandemic is over to determine whether some groups were under or over-compensated, and that evaluation could guide future tax policies 3. improving the efficiency of the tax system, to ensure that whatever revenue is raised is raised in the most efficient way possible. In the conversation, Begoña mentions that the US Federal Reserve has modified its inflation target during the pandemic. For further information, see: What does average inflation targeting mean for investors?
COVID and Wartime – Comparison of economic impacts
A conversation on whether COVID can be compared to wartime, which considers the different scales and scopes of the shocks, and what it all means for prospects for economic recovery. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny, an Australian professional economist and former Treasury official, speaks with businessman Tim Hughes, also based in Brisbane, Australia. Gene and Tim conclude that a comparison of COVID to wartime isn’t valid. One reason is that World War II required a complete reorganisation of the economy to maximise production for the war effort, while COVID has involved restrictions that have reduced economic activity. Links relevant to the conversation include: Comparing COVID-19 to past world war efforts is premature — and presumptuous US Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder on The National Debt Dilemma Brookings on What’s the Fed doing in response to the COVID-19 crisis? What more could it do? Australia’s Boldest Experiment (excellent book on Australia’s wartime economy) Robert Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth (outstanding book by a leading US economist containing a great discussion of America’s wartime economy) Aussies over-confident after being over-compensated by Gov’t for COVID-recession Mint security lapse amazes judge (story about theft from the Australian Mint in early-to-mid 2000s) Finally, the word Gene got stuck on at 6:55, irredentist, means, “a person advocating the restoration to their country of any territory formerly belonging to it”, according to Oxford Languages. If you'd like to ask a question for Gene to answer in a future episode or if you'd like to make a comment or suggestion, please get in touch via the website. Thanks for listening.
Regulating Big Tech
It’s been a challenging year 2020, but one positive development is that regulators in the US and Australia have started challenging the Big Tech companies Google and Facebook over alleged misuses of market power. Economics Explored host Gene Tunny provides an update and discusses the important economic concepts and policy issues. Links relevant to the conversation include: Joseph Stiglitz on Regulating Big Tech Don't Be Evil: The case against big tech by Rana Foroohar Australian Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020 Economics Explored EP58: Tech Giants challenged by the Media and Governments Economics Explored EP22: Antitrust with Danielle Wood from the Grattan Institute Economics Explored EP21: Surveillance Capitalism with Darren Brady Nelson Economics Explored EP16: Big Economic issues for the 2020s