Economists make their conference count

Kostas Mavramaras
National Institute of Labour Studies (NILS) Director, Professor Kostas Mavromaras, who is academic convenor of the conference.

Leading national and international number crunchers are tackling the big economic issues at the 45th Australian Conference of Economists hosted by Flinders University’s National Institute of Labour Studies this week (July 11-13).

A week after Australia’s double-dissolution Federal election, and two weeks after Brexit, the prevailing climate of geopolitical, environmental, economic and social uncertainty is the perfect time for robust economic analysis to better inform public debate.

Delegates will address today’s major challenges under the theme of “Expanding Frontiers of Economics”, including:

The Economics of the NDIS. Dr Bruce Bonyhady AM Chairman of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Dr Ken Baker, Chief Executive of National Disability Services (NDS) and Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan (Flinders) will unravel the investment in, and impact of, the $22 billion scheme. This session was chaired by Professor Kostas Mavromaras from Flinders National Institute of Labour Studies.

Banana Republic – thirty years after Keating. In 1986 the Australian Treasurer Paul Keating catapulted economics into the collective psyche with his warning that unless the country got its economic policy right it would end up being a third rate economy – a banana republic. But did economists get it right and what are the lessons for today? Chaired by Mark Henley, President, Economics Society of SA, the panel will feature Professor Ian McDonald, University of Melbourne; Deborah Cope, Principal PIRAC Economics; Emeritus Professor Bob Gregory, Australian National University; and Matt Butline, President, Economics Society of Australia.

Is the Industrial Relations System a brake on Australia’s economic performance? Critics contend that inflexibilities in the employment of labour, undue union influence in the workplace and excessive levels of pay exacted by industrial action have prevented employers from achieving their full potential.

Professor Keith Hancock AO, National Institute of Labour Studies, will chair a panel featuring Professor Jeff Borland, University of Melbourne; Peter Harris AO, Productivity Commission; and Professor Sue Richardson AM, National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University.

Higher Education. Leading US, UK and Australian experts Professor Sue Dynarski, University of Michigan (chair); Professor Peter Dolton, Sussex University; and Professor Peter Dawkins, Victoria University, examine the debate over funding for this major driver for economic growth, including who should pay for degrees and how much should they cost.

Other topics of note include Gender in Economics: A story in the making with internationally respect gender economics expert Alison Booth, Consumption Inequality with Stanford University’s Professor Luigi Pistaferri, conference dinner guest speaker Emeritus Professor Ian Harper (Reserve Bank Board, Deloitte), and a young economists’ debate.

The conference is presented by the Economic Society of Australia (SA), with Flinders a major sponsor as part of the University’s 50th anniversary year.

Full conference program here 


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