National Economic Panel



ESA National Economic Panel Polls





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Author's Name: Lin Crase
Date: Tue 12 Feb 2019

Lin Crase

Professor Lin Crase

Professor Lin Crase is Professor of Economics and Head of School of Commerce. He joined UniSA in February 2016. Prior to commencing at UniSA, Lin was Professor and Director of the Centre for Water Policy and Management at La Trobe University.

Lin's research has focused on applied economics in the context of water. He has analysed water markets and the property rights that attend them, water pricing and numerous applications of water policy. Whilst his expertise includes the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia, he has also worked on projects in south Asia, Japan and Europe. Lin has published over 100 journal articles, numerous book chapters, four books and a range of other papers and opinion pieces.

Subject Area Expertise

Water resource economics; Natural resource economics.


Responses (26)

Promoting vaccination uptake in Australia

Poll 49

"What measures should Australian governments adopt to promote demand for vaccination once supply is no longer a constraint?"

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"


Vaccine passports for higher-risk settings (eg. flights, restaurants, major events);National advertising campaigns;Lotteries with cash or prizes for the vaccinated;Mandatory vaccination for higher risk occupations

October Budget 2020 - preferred four programs

Poll 42 

"The October budget will see the government announce additional policies to support recovery.  Please nominate the four programs you think would be the most effective (for an intervention of a given size) over the next two years"

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 


Permanently boosting JobSeeker (Newstart) beyond December 31, 2020, Infrastructure projects, Social housing, Funding higher quality aged care

Policies to deliver higher wage growth

Poll 48

Our panellists were asked

"Higher wages growth is now a top priority of the RBA in its efforts to sustain stronger economic growth. Please identify the three of these government policies you think would best help deliver higher wages growth".  

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"



Measures to boost productivity growth;Measures to boost business investment

Government Debt during the COVID19 Crisis

Poll 40

"Governments should provide ongoing fiscal support to boost aggregate demand during the economic crisis and recovery, even if it means a substantial increase in public debt"

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 


Strongly agree


As with all things relating to government, timing really matters. There is a time to reduce public expenditure - but it is not now.

Wage freeze for economic recovery

Poll 39

"A freeze in the minimum wage will support Australia's economic recovery"

Photo credit: Wes Mountain/The ConversationCC BY-ND 




Social Distancing Measures, May 2020

Poll 38

"The benefits to Australian society of maintaining social distancing measures sufficient to keep R<1 for COVID-19 are likely to exceed the costs"




Clearly, the cost impacts will vary greatly across individuals and sectors. For individuals with the capacity to work remotely the costs may prove trivial or even give rise to benefits (e.g. reduced travel time). Where this is not the case the impacts on individuals could be severe. It is also the case that the health benefits will likely be influenced by a range of other factors (e.g. degree of compliance). On balance, the Australian economy is well-placed to integrate social distancing - we enjoy geographic and technological advantages not available to others. However, given our status as a small open economy the big question is really about how particular measures adopted abroad impact our capacity to trade.

Congestion pricing - November 2018


Strongly agree


Does the budget rebuild our economy and create jobs?

Poll 43

"On 6 October, the Government delivered a budget designed, in the Treasurer's words, to 'rebuild our economy and create jobs'.  What grade would you give the budget given the objective?  A, B, C, D, E, F"

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 



Sugar sweetened beverage tax for Australia - July 2018

Poll 31

Proposition 1: "The best economic policy instrument available to policy makers seeking to address obesity and related health issues in Australia is the introduction of a tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs)."

Proposition 2: "The health and non-health benefits from a tax on SSBs are likely to outweigh the possible costs felt elsewhere in the economy."


1 - Strongly disagree

2 - Strongly disagree

Electric vehicles and road-use pricing - June 2018

Poll 30

"Pricing of road-use for electric vehicles should be the same as fossil fuel-powered vehicles."




Does privatisation of human services hurt outcomes? - July 2017

Poll 20

"For-profit provision of human services like health and education leads to poor client outcomes and high costs to government."




The critical question is 'to what are we comparing?' Benevolent government agencies? The risks of government failure are at least equal to those of market failure and each instance of provision needs consideration on its relative merits.

Australian Federal Budget 2017 - Outsourcing Economic Forecasting - May 2017

Poll 18

"Given the Commonwealth Treasury?s ongoing difficulty in making accurate forecasts of some of the key economic variables underpinning the Budget ? in particular nominal GDP growth ? the Government should ?outsource? the economic forecasts used in framing the Budget to an independent agency (such as the Parliamentary Budget Office), as now happens in the United Kingdom."




The supposition that 'outsourcing' forecasts will lead to better outcomes misses the point. The challenges with public finance relate more to the lack of political will to tackle some of the underlying problems, than any notion that one set of forecasts is superior to another.

The Finkel Review - August 2017

Poll 21

"The Finkel Review has recommended a mandatory certificate scheme that obliges electricity retailers to purchase a certain proportion of the electricity they sell from sources of electricity whose emission intensity is below a defined level. This is preferable to conventional approaches to the pricing of externalities, such as an emission tax or cap and trade scheme."


Strongly disagree


Cap and trade remains the  preferred option on economic grounds, although the politics of energy generation in this country makes a first-best solution remote.

2016 US Election - November 2016

Poll 13

"Hillary Clinton is likely to be the superior US presidential candidate for the Australian economy and for Australia."


Strongly agree


CGT deductions - March 2017

Poll 16

"Capital gains tax deductions for housing investment should be removed because they overstimulate the housing market, contributing to rising house prices."




The rationale for removal of favourable taxation arrangements for specific assets is broader than concerns about high housing prices.

Economics teaching - micro before macro - February 2017

Poll 15

"It is more effective to teach an introductory course in micro-economics first before an introductory course in macro-economics."




Same sex marriage - November 2017

Poll 24

"Assuming that the law will be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry in Australia, this will generate net economic benefits for the nation as a whole over the next 10 years."




Constraints that impinge on individuals' full participation in society necessarily reduce economic welfare. It follows that removal of those constraints should lead to some gains. That said, the change to allow formal recognition of this issue versus the informal workarounds are not likely so different as to generate massive changes on the economic front.

Gig economy and worker welfare - February 2018

Poll 26

"The wages and conditions of Australian workers providing services in sectors affected by the rapid growth of digital on-demand subcontracting platforms will, on average, be expected to fall without further government intervention."


Strongly disagree


The supposition that government can somehow shield any set of workers from technological change is very hard to support. This is not to say there is no role for government - rather it's important to acknowledge the limits of the state in (a) predicting some of these changes (b) instigating responses that allow incomes to grow while dealing with potentially excessive inequality.

Journalism as a public good - January 2018

Poll 25

Proposition 1: "The modern phenomena of information overload and social-media-fuelled 'fake news' bring into focus the value of quality journalism. Quality journalism has a public-good dimension that warrants public support."

Proposition 2: "The Australian government presently provides funding for the ABC and SBS, Australia's independent public broadcasters. The Australian government should increase its financial support of quality journalism."


1 - Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

2 - Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

1 - Some information is clearly a public good, but the extent to which it is generated by journalism and the definition of 'quality journalism' is problematic.

2 - Any increased support for the ABC/SBS should be considered in the context of the gains from that investment, relative to other areas of public expenditure. Prima facie plenty of scope exists for diverting monies from other poorly designed projects at national and state levels that currently yield very little public good.

RBA economic growth targets - August 2016

Poll 10

"The Reserve Bank of Australia should be tasked with targeting nominal economic growth rather than inflation."


Strongly disagree


The Brexit - impact on UK citizens - July 2016

Poll 9

"Assuming it is implemented, Brexit will deliver net economic benefits, on average, to UK citizens within its first 5 years."




Spend on education or business tax cut - June 2016

Poll 8

"Australia will receive a bigger economic growth dividend in the long-run by spending on education than offering an equivalent amount of money on a tax cut to business."


Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)


Education adds to productivity (amongst others) but that doesn't automatically arise from an increase in spending on education by government. Clearly, it depends on how the money is spent. The same caveat applies to tax cuts - i.e. the basis and criteria for the cuts will determine their impact.

Efficiency of tax Government investments in major sporting events - February/March 2016

Poll 5

"Government investments in major sporting events usually generate net benefits for the city or region where the investment is made."


Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)


It's not always clear who are the winners and losers as much of the detail is suppressed. In any case this represents a redistribution of any benefits rather than 'new' benefits per se. In addition, the market failure that justifies government intervention in this domain is generally missing from the debate.

Efficiency of tax incentives - February 2016

Poll 4

"New tax incentives for investments in technology and innovation businesses and start-ups are likely to be inefficient."




Bah Humbug Australia - December 2015

Poll 3

"Giving specific presents as holiday gifts is inefficient, because recipients could satisfy their preferences much better with cash."


Strongly disagree


In a conventional sense, recipients of benefits are better off with cash. However, in the case of 'gifts' there are at least two additional considerations. First, if recipients do not fully understand their own preferences (i.e. have imperfect knowledge) a friend may do a better job by providing a gift than we can do ourselves - some friends know us better than we know ourselves. Second, efficiency is about the overall welfare of society. In many cases giving a gift provides welfare to the giver so any efficiency analysis needs to account for the welfare that attends altruism. This hinges on the extent to which givers feel happier about giving a gift versus cash and will obviously be context specific.

Penalty Rates Reform - November 2015

Poll 2

"Aligning Sunday penalty rates for hospitality, entertainment and retailing industries with the current levels for Saturday, as proposed in the Productivity Commission's draft report, will lead to more employment and greater availability of services in these industries on Sundays."


Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)


The presumption in this statement seems to be that all services in these sectors are equivalent and that labour is easily deployed to various tasks across them. Whilst this policy change would likely put downward pressure on pay rates, highly skilled practitioners in these sectors (many of whom may be in scarce supply on Sundays) should have some bargaining power. This also raises questions about the quality of service received on different days (depending on the service being provided of course and the skill levels required) and the willingness of customers to accept variations. "Greater availability of service" might not translate to "greater availability of the same service".