Research themes

The Australian Economy, History, Ideas and Policy

This theme is principally concerned with the interplay between the course of Australian economic development and economic debates and policy. Prominent amongst these are controversies over the source and agents of Australia's economic development; flows of capital between Australia with the rest of the world; the exploitation of natural resources; the contest between protectionism and free trade; financial regulation versus deregulation; optimal population and optimal immigration; productivity and inefficiency in labour and capital; competition and regulation in the labour market; and the management of climate and water risk.

Corporate and Financial Development

The historical evolution of corporate and financial institutions figures prominently in the study of economic growth and modern development across countries.  This program area encompasses research in corporate organization and structure, at both the firm and industry levels, and their relationships with policy and finance.  Examples include the emergence of conglomerates and multinational firms, industrial policy, and entrepreneurship.  The program also supports scholarship on economic institutions, particularly financial system development and the role of intermediaries and instruments in historical perspective.

Population and the Labour Market

A country’s greatest asset is its people. This theme embraces key topics in the evolution of population and labour markets. One aspect is long run demographic change, fertility and health. Another focus is international migration including the role of policy and the effects on labour markets in source and destination countries. Linked to these topics is the analysis of long run trends in labour supply, labour utilisation and the development of skills. These different topics share a common emphasis on the analysis of policy interventions and regulation on the utilisation of labour and the outcomes for workers. This theme also stresses international comparative work that draws on cross country parallels and linkages.