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Author's Name: Lata Gangadharan
Date: Tue 12 Feb 2019

Professor Lata Gangadharan

About

Lata Gangadharan is a Professor in Economics at Monash University. She is an experimental economist who is interested in understanding and designing appropriate institutions for the environment and for development. She has conducted experiments to understand: attitudes towards peer punishment to solve social dilemma problems, incentives in environmental markets, propensity for corruption in different countries, trust and trustworthiness between individuals in economic transactions and selection into labour market programs in developing countries.

Organisation

Department of Economics, Monash University

Research Interests

Experimental Economics, Environmental Economics, Institutions and Development.

Responses (25)


Motherhood, caring and the careers of Australian women - April 2019

Poll 37

Proposition 1: "Without changes to existing public policy or private sector practice in Australia, motherhood will always negatively affect a woman's career."

Proposition 2: "In Australia, fathers are more restricted than mothers in fulfilling a caring role while in employment."

 

Part 1 - Strongly agree

10

The first proposition: it is clear that without changes in public policy or changes in organizational design, women would find it difficult to balance motherhood and careers. I find the second proposition difficult to understand. Perhaps it is how it is worded? Most organizations do not have generous paternity leave and caring roles for men are often looked down upon. Social norms do make it therefore difficult for men to fulfill a caring role, but I am not sure how it compares to women.

Part 2 - Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

6


Royal Banking Commission (II) - February 2019

Poll 35

"There is no way to significantly increase the degree to which Australian retail banks act in the interests of consumers."

 

Disagree

9

Policies that focus on accountability would help. Most importantly though some attention needs to be paid to the contracts and incentives given to financial managers. These contracts (salaries and bonuses) could explicitly include improvements in consumer welfare, rather than just be conditional on an increase in profits for the banks.


Congestion pricing - November 2018

 

Agree

8

In general, targeting the externality directly by taxing it would be better. In some cases, one may need to think of equity. Can richer people access public transport more than poorer people, who will then have to pay higher tolls to commute to work, for example. Would their general taxes be lowered enough to compensate them?


Motherhood, caring and the careers of Australian women - April 2019

Poll 37

Proposition 1: "Without changes to existing public policy or private sector practice in Australia, motherhood will always negatively affect a woman's career."

Proposition 2: "In Australia, fathers are more restricted than mothers in fulfilling a caring role while in employment."

 

Part 1 - Strongly agree

10

The first proposition: it is clear that without changes in public policy or changes in organizational design, women would find it difficult to balance motherhood and careers. I find the second proposition difficult to understand. Perhaps it is how it is worded? Most organizations do not have generous paternity leave and caring roles for men are often looked down upon. Social norms do make it therefore difficult for men to fulfill a caring role, but I am not sure how it compares to women.

Part 2 - Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

6


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 - Disagree

2 - Uncertain (neither agree nor disagree)

1 - Taxes dont seem to have had much of an impact in other countries where they have been tried. This could be due to the low elasticity of demand for soft drinks.  Taxes on soft drinks therefore may not proportionately affect the quantity of soft drinks consumed. Taxing soft drinks could also lead to perverse effects, such as a reallocation of resources towards goods and services that are worse in terms of the negative externalities they cause (for example, alcoholic beverages). Perhaps other policies would be better to consider: government advertising, subsidising healthier alternatives etc.

2 -


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."

 

Disagree

8

Fossil fuel powered vehicles clearly create negative externalities in society. Electric powered vehicles are a viable alternative to fossil fuel powered ones and also reduce the negative externality being created. The government should therefore intervene (at least in the short run) in the market, in this case through subsiding electric cars, in order to reduce the market failure.


Australian Federal Budget 2018 - Reduce government debt or provide tax cuts? - April 2018

Poll 28

Proposition 1: "Slowing the growth in the debt to GDP ratio should be a priority for Australian governments."

Proposition 2: "Slowing the growth in the debt to GDP ratio is a higher priority than income or corporate tax cuts."

 

1 - Disagree

2 - Disagree

1 - The answer to this would depend on how the economy is performing currently. Recent figures show economic growth to be below the threshold where it would be considered strong and sustainable. Inflationary pressures are also mild right now and unemployment is higher than ideal. This suggests that the performance of the economy is not very strong. The RBA interest rates are also at record lows, which indicates that with inflation being mild, the RBA believes that now is the time to stimulate economic growth. Prioritising paying back debt at this point would only undercut what the RBA is trying to achieve.

2 -


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 - Agree

2 - Agree


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."

 

Agree

9

More weddings would mean more money being spent locally which should generate net economic benefits.


Public borrowing for infrastructure investment - September 2017

Poll 22

"As interest rates are at low levels by historical standards, federal and state governments, despite their public debt levels, should be borrowing more than they currently are to invest in infrastructure"

 

Agree

7

When Interest rates are low, it may be a good time to borrow. If the borrowing is to invest such that, the investment increases Australia's productive capacity, then there will be some potential for repayment and reduction of public debt in the future.


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."

 

Agree

8

There will be trade-offs between the profit objective and social responsibility and the costs would be incurred by the government.


Gender diversity in the workplace - role of government? - June 2017

Poll 19

"The recent Parliamentary Inquiry into "Gender segregation in the workplace and its impact on women's economic equality" was asked to examine measures to encourage women?s participation in male-dominated occupations and industries. Although there is growing awareness of the productivity gains of gender diversity, the private market alone is unlikely to steer the Australian labour market toward gender equality in male-dominated industries. Breaking down gender segregation in the labour market can only be achieved with some degree of government intervention."

 

Agree

9

Merit criteria are argued to be very important and they should be. However the significant lack of diversity at the top, in fields where women are performing well, seems to suggest that merit is not the only criteria being used currently. Some intervention is therefore needed to level the playing field: such as changing institutional culture, making diversity information public, perhaps even quotas for a temporary period (to help increase exposure to women leaders and change the organisational culture).


Energy shortages - reserving Australian gas - April 2017

Poll 17

"In response to energy shortages around Australia, government policies requiring gas producers to reserve some production for domestic consumption are a good way to ensure that Australian consumers have access to sufficient gas supplies while still allowing for gas exports."

 

Disagree

8

Sounds like a protectionist policy which is not great. If energy reserves are low then markets may figure out how to use the scarce resources appropriately and also alternatives such as renewable resources would enter to reduce scarcity.


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."

 

Strongly agree

9

I think it is more effective to teach Microeconomics first as it can help lay the foundations for macroeconomics. Most students would be able to relate to individual behavior and firm behavior and this helps them connect later to aggregate behavior.


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

8


Social costs of gambling - December 2016

Poll 14

"The social costs of gambling exceed the benefits (including consumer surplus from recreational gambling and tax revenue for governments)."

 

Agree

9

Depends on how one thinks about social costs. If we were to include the moral costs of gambling and the associated implications for corruption and fraud, then the social costs would be certainly higher than the benefits from increased revenue generation.


Part 1: 'Behavioural economics provides new and useful insights into individual behaviour.' Part 2: 'It is unethical for governments to use behavioural economics to

The total benefit of current levels* of migration to Australia will outweigh the total costs to Australia's economy.

 

Strongly agree

9


Immigration - November 2016

Poll 12

'The total benefit of current levels* of migration to Australia will outweigh the total costs to Australia's economy'.

 

Agree

8


Behavioural economics - September 2016

Poll 11

Part 1: 'Behavioural economics provides new and useful insights into individual behaviour.'

Part 2: 'It is unethical for governments to use behavioural economics to "nudge" citizens.'

 

PART 1 - Disagree

9

PART 2 - Disagree

9


RBA economic growth targets - August 2016

Poll 10

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

 

Disagree

8

Being flexible in terms of examining wider economic conditions as well as inflation targets is reasonable, but the main focus of the central bank is usually the inflation rate.


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."

 

Agree

7


China services boom for Australia? - April 2016

Poll 6

"As the Chinese economy makes its transition from investment-led to consumption led growth, the Australian service sector which currently accounts for around 20% of total exports, will produce a second 'Chinese economic windfall' for Australians."

 

Agree

5

The service sector is more advanced in Australia as compared to China, in terms of its professionalism and ethical practices. So one expects there to be demand for this as China transitions to a consumption led growth path.


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."

 

Agree

8

Cash transfers are often seen to be more efficient and less paternalistic. So Cash as gifts would be better for adults, but for young children cash is not a gift! They like a gift they can hold.


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)

5

While this may mean that employers can pay a lower rate on Sundays, some employees may choose to not work at the lower rate. So it is not clear if employment would definitely increase.