Welcome to Tulipwood Economics
Updated: Aug 15, 2018
With the appropriate level of fanfare for an economics website, welcome to Tulipwood Economics (TWE)! The purpose of the website is, of course, to promote TWE in the public policy and economic consulting marketplace. The website describes my experience and industry expertise, as well as some of the technical skills that I apply in my work. You can also find my semi-regular public policy blog and links to interesting economics content.
The website also identifies my main collaborators, most notably the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong, where I am a Senior Research Fellow and head the Infrastructure Economics Research Group. I work closely with several government agencies and consulting firms, including BITRE, Transport for NSW, the Queensland Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, PWC and KPMG to name a few.
I also work with some of Australia’s leading economists on policy development, consulting projects and academic work, including Professors Henry Ergas, Jonathan Pincus (UoA) and Tony Makin (Griffith University), Dr Mark Harrison (ANU), Dr Alex Robson (PMO), Gene Tunny (Adept Economics), Chris Nadarajah (AECOM) and Sabine Schnittger (Principal Economics).
Perhaps this first blog post should very briefly review the most contentious issues in Australian public policy. It reminds me of a typical Productivity Commission interview question that is regularly pitched to young graduates – what have been the main microeconomic reforms of the past 30 years and what do we still need to do?
In terms of the “to do” list, it seems to me that the most significant remaining microeconomic reforms all relate to, and are fundamentally limited by, the structure of our Federation. Take almost any current public policy problem – energy policy, the quality of public infrastructure investment, the performance of our education system, the efficiency and effectiveness of our health system, value for money in defence procurement, the efficiency of the tax system; reform is fundamentally limited by the structure of our Federation. I can think of only one significant current public policy ‘problem’ that has not been (at least partly) ‘caused’ by our Federal structure – that is, telecommunications policy.
Resolving these Federal issues is important for Australian living standards. We are no longer ‘living large’ thanks to the mining investment boom and the related historic high in our terms of trade which meant that the rest of the world was prepared to pay a premium for our resources exports. In fact, net national disposable income per capita growth has been negative or weak since the end of the mining investment boom in 2012 (see chart below). The structural adjustment to the new economic landscape has been slow. Is this as good as it gets? Or can we muster another bout of microeconomic reform to underpin higher living standards in the 2020s? Only time will tell.
Welcome to Tulipwood Economics.