Monthly Archives: August 2014

Long-term trend in average working hours – big drop over last 100 years

A comment from a reader on my Friday post on robotics and automation got me thinking about long-term trends in average working hours. Historical data on standard male working hours (from Glenn Withers’s chapter in Vamplew’s Australians: Historical Statistics), which … Continue reading

Posted in Labour market, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Economic implications of robotics and automation

There is increasingly serious discussion about the implications of major advances in robotics and automation and what these advances mean for the future economy, particularly whether robots will replace humans in many jobs. For example, the OECD has observed that … Continue reading

Posted in Labour market | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Mining investment decline has driven recent economic weakness

New data from the ABS show that although residential and commercial building activity is picking up nicely, the pick up is in no way large enough to offset the decline in heavy/engineering construction, which has largely occurred in the resources … Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Macroeconomy, Mining | Leave a comment

Builders much more optimistic than current conditions would warrant

Broadly speaking, humans are biased towards being optimistic, and the Master Builders Survey of Industry Conditions for June 2014 is a good example of the optimism bias. Builders across Queensland, and especially in the South-East, are much more optimistic about … Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Macroeconomy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Privatisation proceeds should be spent wisely

I have an opinion piece in today’s Courier-Mail on asset sales/privatisation: Corporatisation has brought efficiency gains but there is still room for more gains through privatisation It’s based largely on my speech from a few weeks ago: Productivity and privatisation. … Continue reading

Posted in Budget, Queensland Government | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

US tax guru Dan Mitchell criticises federal debt levy

Cato Institute economist and former George H.W. Bush adviser Dan Mitchell gave a fantastic presentation tonight to the Queensland branch of the Economic Society on tax avoidance and tax competition. Dan is highly critical of OECD efforts to discourage member … Continue reading

Posted in Budget, Tax | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Costello right to support drop in $1,000 GST-free threshold for online purchases

I’m pleased to see former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello backs retailers’ call to lower online GST threshold. There is the obvious level playing field argument that Costello makes. Also, with Federal and State Governments facing big challenges in repairing their … Continue reading

Posted in Tax | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment