Is welfare sustainable? (6 December 2015)
In Inside Story, Peter Whiteford of ANU takes a historical look at trends in welfare spending. Among his conclusions:
- ‘[O]ur main concern should be to avoid any significant blow-out in unemployment’ and we should look closely at the problems some people face in moving from welfare to work.
- ‘[T]he growth in the size of the population aged sixty-five and over will put upward pressure on spending over coming decades. Preparing for the continued ageing of the population, however, does not necessarily imply that the solution is to seek to further cut spending on working-age payments.’
Educational opportunity in Australia 2015 (23 November 2015)
An enduring view of Australia is of a fair and egalitarian place in which opportunities exist for all to get ahead and succeed in building secure futures. Education is viewed as one of the main vehicles through which this happens. But to what extent is this true of modern Australia? To what extent are the benefits of success available to all?
Some make it, some miss out but can be helped.
Inequality is becoming a bigger issue for Australians (4 November 2015)
Notes interesting response from latest Scanlon Foundation Social Cohesion Survey: those surveyed increasingly believe that income gaps are too large.
Who are the beneficiaries from our tax system? (21 October 2015)
Peter Whiteford asks the question, taking account of a new study by the Productivity Commission. ‘Overall, these estimates support previous findings that the Australian social security system remains well targeted by income. This is less true in relation to wealth …’. On the other hand, ‘a much wider range of people benefit from the welfare state and pay taxes to support it than is often acknowledged’.
Which states are more unequal and which facts stack up? (28 September 2015)
Articles in The Conversation look at which state is most unequal (if you’re in New South Wales, you’re standing in it) and check the inequality facts quoted by Opposition Leader Shorten (they were mostly spot on).
Yet another report, this time on the growing gap in living standards (17 September 2015)
More on the problem and at least something on the solutions (5 September 2017)
Thom Mitchell looks at the recent Foundation for Youth report on inequality as it affects Australian youth (see also 1 September update below). The Real World Economics Review Blog (recommended) flags an article which links the policy preferences of the wealthy with the health of democracy internationally. In general, the article suggests that the very wealthy have more conservative views on economic policy and that these flow disproportionately into influence on public policy. Then, Genevieve Knight reviews AB Atkinson’s recent book, Inequality: What Can be Done? Atkinson is also a collaborator of Leigh (below).
Andrew Leigh MP on inequality: highlights reel (1 September 2015)
Looks at six items from this author, examining Australian progress towards greater inequality along with some policy options to address it. The items highlighted (from 2007 to 2015) cover the distribution of top incomes in Australia, comparable countries, Leigh’s 2013 book Battlers and Billionaires, a review of Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-first Century, a 2015 update on both the book and the review (with policy options stressed) and another lecture from May 2015 with additional policy options.
The government’s initiative to get a handle on available manpower – an initiative that led ultimately to the conscription referenda – also threw up some interesting information about wealth and income, even though there were methodological flaws.
A roundup of reports, some analysis and a review of Piketty (24 June 2015)
World Socialist Web Site looks at reports by Boston Consulting Group, Russell Sage Foundation and Oxfam on global inequality and by Knight Frank on the United States. Ian McAuley on why inequality matters. Geoffrey Harcourt reviews Piketty. Australia’s ACOSS releases yet another report on inequality (both wealth and income) in Australia. Mardi Dungey on the implications for inequality of the arrival of the new economy.
Material from June 2015 and earlier (most recent first)
Cheryl McDermid on the World Socialist Web Site on recent Australian evidence, June 2015.
Joseph Stiglitz in 2014 wrote a book about which he talked in Australia on the ABC, at ANU and at the Sydney Town Hall. Most recently (May 2015), there has been a report from the OECD and an edited extract from the book Governomics by Lyons and McAuley.
A CEDA report on entrenched economic advantage, April 2015.
A piece from the World Socialist Web Site on global inequality (showing that one percent of the world’s population now controls 48.2 percent of its wealth, up from 46 per cent in 2013).
An article from Alan Austin in the Australian Independent Media Network drawing upon a wide range of statistics to show that Australia was in 2014 the richest nation in the world, though there were some caveats.
A policy brief from the Australia Institute, July 2014.
An article in The Conversation, March 2014, by Professor Peter Whiteford with some links to other articles of his.
The report of a roundtable, Parliament House, January 2014.
A link to an abstract of a 2012 article by Murray and Chesters which covers 122 years of history (you’ll have to track down the full text).
Some information about Stilwell and Nolan‘s 2007 book Who Gets What? which marked something of a revival in inequality research in Australia.
An article from Richard Denniss on the costs of ageing in Australia (Journal of Australian Political Economy, 59, June 2007).
Some pictures from the resources of Melbourne’s Herald-Sun, depicting inequality and poverty in that city in the 1960s and earlier.