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Author's Name: Ian Harper
Date: Wed 06 May 2020

Ian Harper

Professor Ian Harper

Ian Harper is Dean and Director of the Melbourne Business School and Co-Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. He is also a member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Ian is a professional economist best known for his work in public policy. During his 35-year career, he has worked with governments, banks, corporates and leading professional services firms at the highest level.

From March 2011 to March 2018 Ian was a partner at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and then a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Access Economics. He chaired the Australian Government’s Competition Policy Review, a “root and branch” review of Australia’s competition policy, laws and regulators, from March 2014 to March 2015.

From December 2005 to July 2009, Ian served as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, and from January 2011 to February 2012, he was one of three panellists chosen to review Victoria’s state finances.

Ian was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2000 and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2009. In 2016 he was elected a Distinguished Public Policy Fellow of the Economic Society of Australia and received a Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award from the University of Queensland.

Subject Area Expertise

Monetary and financial economics; regulatory policy and institutions

Website

Company website: www.mbs.edu


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Responses (1)


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"

 

Strongly agree

8

Plausible scenario analysis shows that the costs of allowing the virus to spread widely and rapidly within the community (i.e., allowing R>1 consistently) outweigh the costs of social distancing and other measures aimed at keeping R<1. In the former case, the forecast economic recession would be longer and deeper, driven primarily by ongoing disruption to workplaces, more widespread bankruptcies and severe loss of consumer confidence attending the inevitable "sawtooth" pattern of lockdown and release. Keeping R<1 allows confidence to return faster than otherwise and avoids repeated lockdowns, allowing more normal patterns of consumer and producer behaviour to resume sooner than otherwise, notwithstanding the costs of social distancing.

Strongly agree

8

Plausible scenario analysis shows that the costs of allowing the virus to spread widely and rapidly within the community (i.e., allowing R>1 consistently) outweigh the costs of social distancing and other measures aimed at keeping R<1. In the former case, the forecast economic recession would be longer and deeper, driven primarily by ongoing disruption to workplaces, more widespread bankruptcies and severe loss of consumer confidence attending the inevitable "sawtooth" pattern of lockdown and release. Keeping R<1 allows confidence to return faster than otherwise and avoids repeated lockdowns, allowing more normal patterns of consumer and producer behaviour to resume sooner than otherwise, notwithstanding the costs of social distancing.