Medium-Term Policies for Economic Growth
Chair: Dr Peter Abelson
1. International Trade and Economic Growth
Jonathan Coppel, Commissioner, Productivity Commission
The talk will draw on our current research project which assesses the impacts on Australia of possible international shifts in trade policy towards a more protectionist stance and implications this has for Australia’s trade policy. The research project is using a GTAP-type model to analyse the impact of different policy positions. Key research questions include:
- How might current trends in trade policy evolve? Would Australia’s trade with China, the United States and other countries be adversely affected? Would there be opportunities from international shifts in trade policy?
- What are the likely impacts on foreign investment for a nation with a strong dependence on foreign capital such as Australia? Are impediments to outward investment by Australian firms likely to increase?
- What would these shifts mean for how Australia should respond, frame and conduct its trade policy? Would a strategic rethink be required for the trade agreements currently under negotiation and for the role Australia might play as a global citizen promoting trade liberalisation?
2. Major Drivers of Economic Productivity
Simon Campbell, Commonwealth Treasury
For a small open economy like Australia, which specialises in commodity exports, fluctuations in the terms of trade and productivity growth are the primary drivers of per capita income growth. The declining terms of trade due to the expansion in global mining sector capacity and downward pressure on labour force participation due to the ageing of the population reinforce the notion that labour productivity will be the main driver of future growth in living standards. This paper analyses trends in Australia’s productivity performance and disaggregates productivity growth into industry contributions to evaluate how structural change is affecting productivity growth.
3. Human Capital and the Australian Future
Professor Glenn Withers, ANU
The quantity and quality of a nation's human capital are the principle determinants of prosperity and progress. This presentation will seek to examine Australian position and prospects in this domain, including as human capital relates to each of population, participation and productivity but especially as influenced through education and training and through immigration. It will dicuss what global integration works best here, how this influences inequality, and the longer-run policy settings to deliver best outcomes for Australia and beyond.