Featured research

Do socioeconomic circumstances matter?

Associate Professor Tue Gorgens

Associate Professor Tue Gorgens’ recent research with Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark focuses on economic support of young-adult children by their parents.

In their recent paper, “Parents’ economic support of young-adult children: do socioeconomic circumstances matter?”, published in the Journal of Population Economics, the authors assess how the support parents provide to young adults as they leave school and begin working is related to their family’s socioeconomic circumstances.

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Social status and new brands

Dr Jose Rodrigues-Neto

Dr Jose Rodrigues-Neto focused his recent research on the market for new brands of status goods and optimal taxation.

In his recent paper, “Dress to impress: Brands as status symbols”, published in the leading journal in the field of game theory, Games and Economic Behavior, Jose develops a new framework to model the supply, demand, equilibrium and optimal taxation of new goods that increase the social status of users.

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Social pension program

Dr Chung Tran

Dr Chung Tran's recent research focuses on family social safety, social pensions, and welfare.

In his recent paper, “The extension of social security coverage in developing countries”, joint with Juergen Jung, Towson University, published in the Journal of Development Economics, the authors study the dynamic general equilibrium effects of introducing a social pension program to elderly informal sector workers in developing countries who lack formal risk sharing mechanisms against income and longevity risks.

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Temptation and social security

Dr Cagri Kumru

Dr Cagri Kumru's recent research with Dr Chung Tran focuses on social security and self-control.

In their recent paper, “Temptation and social security in a dynastic framework”, published in the European Economic Review, the authors investigate welfare and aggregate implications of a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) social security system in a dynastic framework in which individuals have self-control problems.

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Dynamic programming

Prof John Stachurski

Prof John Stachurski's recent research focuses on dynamic programming and Monte Carlo integrations.

In his recent paper, “Fitted Value Function Iteration with Probability One Contractions”, joint with Peno Pal, Central European University, and published in the Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, the authors study a value function iteration algorithm based on nonexpansive function approximation and Monte Carlo integration that can be applied to almost all stationary dynamic programming problems.

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Public Economics

Prof Richard Cornes

Professor Richard Cornes’ recent research focuses on market failures involving public goods, open access resource exploitation and other externalities.

In his recent article “Risk aversion in symmetric and asymmetric contests” with Roger Hartley, published in the Economic Theory, the authors analyze existence, uniqueness and properties of equilibria in incompletely discriminating Tullock contests with logistic contest success functions, when contestants are risk averse. They prove that a Nash equilibrium for such a contest exists, but give an example of a symmetric contest with both symmetric and asymmetric equilibria, showing that risk aversion may lead to multiple equilibria. Symmetric contests have unique symmetric equilibria but additional conditions are necessary for general uniqueness. They also study the effects on incumbents of additional competitors entering the contest under these conditions and examine the effects of risk aversion on rent dissipation in symmetric and asymmetric contests.

Professor Cornes has also written two books: Duality and Modern Economics (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods and Club Goods (2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 1996).

Industrial organisation

Dr Tina Kao’s recent research focuses on industrial organisation.

In her recent article “Protection of basic research and R&D incentives” with Reiko Aoki, forthcoming in The Economic Review, the authors look at cumulative innovations and the protection of basic research which does not carry stand-alone commercial values in an international setting. Their model suggests that there may be less disputes on intellectual property right standards among countries in industries characterized by sequential innovations.

In the article “Endogenous Merger under Multi-Market Competition” with Flavio Menezes, the authors examine a simple model of strategic interactions among firms that face at least some of the same rivals in two related markets (for goods 1 and 2). It shows that when firms compete in quantity, market prices increase as the degree of multi-market contact increases. However, the welfare consequences of multi-market contact are more complex and depend on how two fundamental forces play out. The first is the selection effect and the second opposing effect is the internalisation of the Cournot externality effect. These two effects are influenced by the degree of asymmetry between markets 1 and 2 and the degree of substitutability between goods 1 and 2.


Dr Gaurab Aryal’s recent research focuses on structural estimation of games with incomplete information. In particular, he is interested in nonparametric identification and estimation of contracts/mechanism such as insurance and auctions.

In his recent article “A Point Decision for Partially Identified Auction Models” with Dong-Hyuk Kim, the authors propose a decision theoretic method to choose a single reserve price for partially identified auction models using incomplete data from English auctions.

In the article “Testing for Collusion in Asymmetric First-Price Auctions” with Maria Gabrielli, the authors propose fully nonparametric tests to detect possible collusion in first-price procurement (auctions). The aim of the tests is to detect possible collusion before knowing whether or not bidders are colluding.

Development economics

Prof Xin Meng

Prof Xin Meng’s recent research focuses on the economic implications of major catastrophes, and the economic implications of rural-urban migration in developing countries.

Her recent article, “Stunting and selection effects of famine: Case study of the Great Chinese Famine” with Tue Gorgens and Rhema Vaithianathan, was published in the Journal of Development Economics. In it, the authors suggest that if a country experiences a shock such as famine, average height is potentially a biased measure of economic conditions during childhood.

In the article “Intergenerational income mobility in urban China” with Andrew Leigh, published in the Review of Income and Wealth, the paper estimates the intergenerational income elasticity for urban China, paying careful attention to the potential biases induced by income fluctuations and life cycle effects. The authors find that parental education plays one of the most important roles in transmitting economic status from parents to children.

Monetary economics

Timothy Kam

Timothy Kam's recent research focuses on exchange rate fluctuations.

In his recent article “Money, Capital and Exchange Rate Fluctuations” with Pedro Gomis-Porqueras and Junsang Lee, forthcoming in International Economic Review, the authors explore how the informational frictions underlying monetary exchange affect international exchange rate dynamics. Using a two-country, two-sector model, they show that information frictions imply a particular restriction on domestic price dynamics and hence on international nominal and real exchange rate determination. Their model is capable of producing endogenously rigid international relative prices in response to technology and monetary shocks.

Applied microeconomics

Prof Robert Breunig

Prof Robert Breunig’s recent research focuses on inequality, income distribution, and program impact evaluation.

In his recent article “Testing Regulatory Consistency” with Flavio M Menezes published in the Contemporary Economic Policy, the authors undertake an analysis of regulatory consistency using a database of publicly available regulatory decisions in Australia. They conclude that the weighted average cost of capital is a very poor measure of regulatory consistency. Their results provide an empirical foundation for theoretical modeling of regulatory processes.

In another article “Partnered women's labour supply and child care costs in Australia: measurement error and the child care price” with Xiaodong Gong and Anthony King, forthcoming in the Economic Record, the authors explain why previous Australian studies have found partnered women’s labour supply to be unresponsive to child care prices. Using local area average prices, they find that increases in the price of child care do have negative effects on women's decision to work and working hours.

Mathematical economics

Dr Jose Rodrigues-Neto

Dr Jose Rodrigues-Neto's recent research focuses on mathematical economics and information structures.

In his article “The Cycles Approach,” forthcoming in the Journal of Mathematical Economics, Jose uses linear algebra, graph theory and probability theory to study common prior existence and analyze models of knowledge and common knowledge. He introduces and explores the cycle spaces of a new class of graphs, associated to information structures, to compute the minimum number of equations that must be checked to guarantee the existence of a common prior.

In his previous article “From Posteriors to Priors via Cycles,” published in the Journal of Economic Theory, Jose proposed new necessary and sufficient conditions for checking if a set of players' posteriors is consistent with a common prior. This question, known as Harsanyi’s Consistency Problem, is a cornerstone of game theory.


Dr Joshua Chan

Dr Chan’s recent research focuses on Monte Carlo methods and the development of time-varying macroeconometric models.

In his recent article “Time Varying Dimension Models” joint with Gary Koop, University of Strathclyde, Roberto Leon-Gonzalez, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, and Rodney Strachan Australian National University, and accepted for publication in the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, the authors introduce a new class of models in which the dimension of the models can change over time, allowing for more flexible and realistic modelling of the complex relationships among macroeconomic variables.

In a second paper “Improved Cross-Entropy Method for Estimation”, joint with Dirk Kroese of the University of Queensland and forthcoming in Statistics and Computing, the authors propose a new variant of a popular adaptive importance sampling procedure called the cross-entropy method. In a finance application that involves estimating the credit risk of a portfolio of loans, the new method has been shown to perform significantly better than the traditional approach.

Economic history

Prof Tim Hatton

Prof Tim Hatton’s recent research focuses on immigration and asylum policy.

In his recent article “Immigrants assimilate as communities, not just as individuals” with Andrew Leigh and published in the Journal of Population Economics, the authors test the hypothesis that immigrants assimilate as communities, not just as individuals. They find that history matters in immigration assimilation: the stronger is the tradition of immigration from a given source country, the better the economic outcomes for new immigrants from that source.

His book Seeking Asylum: Trends and Polices in the OECD was published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in London in 2011.

One recent CEPR discussion paper “Refugee and Asylum Migration to the OECD: A Short Overview” provides an overview of asylum migration from poor countries to the OECD since the 1950s. Another, “Asylum Policy in the EU: The Case for Deeper Integration”, analyses the political economy of Asylum policy in the EU.


Dr Tue Gorgens

Dr Tue Gorgens’ recent research is concerned with the Chinese economy, Australian education, duration analysis, and nonlinear panel data models.

In his recent paper “Stunting and Selection Effects of Famine: A Case Study of the Great Chinese Famine” with Xin Meng and Rhema Vaithianathan published in the Journal of Development Economics, the authors develop a method for disentangling the stunting from the selection effects of famine. The paper suggests that average height is potentially a biased measure of economic conditions during childhood and that the Chinese who grew up during the famine are up to 2 cm shorter than they would otherwise have been.

His ARC project “How do macroeconomic fluctuations affect the educational choices of young Australians? The 1990-1991 recession, recent evidence, and econometric issues” have several aims, including helping policy makers identify young people who need extra support in tough times and investigating the influence of data censoring in duration analysis.

Tue's research on panel data econometrics develops new tests for detecting model misspecification and describes new methods for estimating nonlinear models.

Economic history

Dr Martine Mariotti

Dr Martine Mariotti’s recent research focuses on labour market integration and living standards in South Africa.

In her recent paper, “ Labour markets during apartheid in South Africa” published in The Economic History Review, the author shows that the process of reserving skilled and semi-skilled jobs for Whites declined during apartheid South Africa but there is little evidence of a decline in racial segregation in the labour market. She concludes that the transformation in the labour market was driven by White economic incentives rather than any evident change in White preferences regarding racial segregation.

In the paper “Entrepreneurship in an Emerging and Culturally Diverse Economy: A South African Survey of Perceptions”, joint with John Luiz of the University of the Witwatersrand, and published in the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, the authors examine the entrepreneurial traits of a diverse group of young adults in South Africa, and conclude that socio-economic elements play a noteworthy role in people’s perceptions of the value of entrepreneurship and thus need to be incorporated in entrepreneurial models.

Public economics

Maria Racionero

Dr Maria Racionero’s recent research focuses on optimal taxation and education.

In her recent paper, “Unequal wages for equal utilities”, joint with Helmuth Cremer, University of Toulouse, and Pierre Pestieau University of Liege, and published at International Tax and Public Finance, the authors show that when educational policy is supplemented by a redistributive income tax the optimal policy is typically regressive, even if individuals have ex ante the same ability to benefit from education. The authors conclude that it may be more efficient to redistribute income rather than to equalize wages.

In the paper “Voting on income-contingent loans for higher education”, joint with Elena Del Rey, Universitat de Girona, and forthcoming at the Economic Record, the authors consider risk-averse individuals who differ in two characteristics – ability to benefit from education and inherited wealth – and analyse higher education participation under two alternative schemes – tax subsidy and risk sharing income-contingent loans. They show that the degree of risk aversion plays a crucial role in determining which financing scheme obtains a majority, and that the composition of the support group for each financing scheme can be of two different types.


Dr Rodney Strachan

Dr Strachan’s recent research focuses on the development of new methods for macroeconometric models.

In his recent paper, “Bayesian inference in a time varying cointegration model”, joint with Gary Koop, University of Strathclyde, and Roberto Leon-Gonzalez, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, and published at the Journal of Econometrics, the authors develop a model which allows evolution of reduced form equilibria.

Another of their recent papers, “Bayesian Model Averaging in the Instrumental Variable Regression Model” (forthcoming in the same journal), considers the instrumental variable regression model when there is uncertainty about the set of instruments, exogeneity restrictions, the validity of identifying restrictions and the set of exogenous regressors. A reversible jump Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm is developed to allow Bayesian model averaging.

The economics of education

Dr Astghik Mavisakalyan

Dr Mavisakalyan’s recent articles focus on the relationship between immigration and education opportunities.

In the article "Immigration, public education spending and private schooling", published in the Southern Economic Journal, Dr Mavisakalyan analyses the impact of immigration on private school enrollment through the mechanism of public education spending.

In a second article "Immigration and school choice in Australia",published at the Australian Economic Review, she examines the relationship between the share of immigrants in a locality and private versus public school choices of natives and immigrants in Australia.

Health economics

Health Economics

Dr Yijuan Chen’s paper "Why are health care report cards so bad (good)" was recently published at the Journal of Health Economics.

The paper provides a game-theoretic foundation for testing the effects of quality report cards in the US health care industry. It shows that in asymmetric distributions of patient types between health care providers, providers may select patients and patients may select providers.

The paper concludes that the providers’ selection behaviour is not caused by the report cards alone; rather it is caused by the combination of the report cards and the particular features of the heath care industry. This implies that the report-card program has the potential to be successfully introduced to other industries.

Behavioural economics

Alison Booth

Professor Alison Booth's papers "Gender differences in risk behavior: Does nurture matter?" and "How different are girls and boys?", both jointly written with Patrick Nolen of the University of Essex, have been accepted for publication at The Economics Journal and the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization respectively.

The first paper investigates whether single-sex environments are likely to modify student’s risk-taking preferences in economically important ways. The second paper examines the role of nurture in explaining the stylized fact that women shy away from competition.

Updated:  25 October 2013/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSE/ Page Contact:  RSE Webmaster