Category Archives: Public policy

Is a plurilateral the ‘way out’ for WTO on agriculture?

Q: under what circumstances would a critical-mass (CM) plurilateral agreement on agriculture be a way “out of the mess” in the WTO agriculture negotiations? A: any CM plurilateral works as a “way out” of the WTO stalemate where it offers a degree of benefits to the members of the plurilateral agreement such that they were […]

The physical science of climate change

I’m late finding this Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) report. I include the summary of their findings on the physical science here because they accord with my present assessment. I would have added only one thing to the recitation below. I do not know why the NIPCC omitted it. That is: the IPCC’s […]

Statistics for (non-mathematical) trade analysts

I teach a ‘summer intensive’ graduate course in Trade Research Methods at the University of Adelaide. In five days we cover everything from the role of evidence in public policy to how to write a report that your boss will read (and even understand). Most of my students have no formal training in statistics (or […]

Evidence-free policy on cars

His Telstra term has apparently left Ziggy Switkowski with a taste for Gaullist illogic. He reckons that the absence of a rationale — other than rent-seeking — is not fatal to a policy that supports a “diverse” industrial patrimoine. It is very hard to make a conventional business case for subsidisation of (or, more fashionably, […]

Davos dribbles

What a world of blather, the Davos meeting must be. The corporate chattering classes titilating themselves with scary, fuzzy, big-picture boogaloo. Clever talk and a few good dinners musing about issues they guess are complex, looming, and someone else’s problem (tomorrow) must console them for the rest of the year when they have to deal […]

That High Court decision

The Prime Minister is “deeply disappointed” with the decision on the plan to send Christmas Island arrivals to Malaysia. Understandable; it’s not a good look for her government. But is Paul Kelly in the Australian right to argue that the decision was ill-made and an “unjustified” interference in foreign policy? This is certainly an “intrusive” […]

Manufacturing dissent

United States manufacturers, like their Australian counterparts, are indulging some hyperbolic alarm about their future, but for different reasons. U.S. economic growth seems too anaemic to support demand in the sector; Australia’s economic growth seem to be bypassing it. Still, this self-interested plea in the NYT from a director of GE for public subsidies (“innovation […]