In a “speech(link to ‘Australia’s Economic Miracle’, pdf file about 100k)”:http://www.pc.gov.au/research/speeches/cs20030801/cs20030801.pdf to a post-graduate economics forum, Gary Banks (Chairman of the “Australian Productivity Commission”:http://www.pc.gov.au) outlines the nature and origins of productivity gains in the Australian economy since the early 1990’s that has seen our output per person climb from 16th in the OECD to 8th (an enviable 2.5% growth rate over the decade).
The origins of this growth acceleration, according to the Productivity Commission, include both include micro-economic reforms that Banks says drove managers in key infrastructure industries to find more efficient ways of doing business. Rapid uptake of information and communications technology in industries such as wholesale trade, finance and insurance led to efficiencies that cascaded through the economy. Banks points, too, to the effect of associated competition law and labor market reforms that helped to ensure that the micro economic reforms had lasting effect. Banks summarizes some future challenges, including the translation of tariff and labor market reforms into better manufacturing productivity performance (output per hour worked is only 85% of US manufacturing productivity, no better than our relative performance in the 1950s) It’s an excellent, short, summary of the origins of our run of economic ‘good luck’ in the Lucky Country.
Peter Gallagher is student of piano and photography. He was formerly a senior trade official of the Australian government. For some years after leaving government, he consulted to international organizations, governments and business groups on trade and public policy.
He teaches graduate classes at the University of Adelaide on trade research methods and the role of firms in trade and growth and tweets trade (and other) stuff from @pwgallagher