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Author's Name: David Byrne
Date: Thu 16 Feb 2023

David Byrne

Professor David Byrne

David Byrne is a Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne. His main research interests are in industrial organisation, focusing on energy and resource markets. His work has been published in journals such as the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Econometrics, and Review of Economics and Statistics. He is also an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Industrial Organization, an executive member of the Asia-Pacific Industrial Organisation Society and European Association for Research in Industrial Economics, a Director of the Centre for Market Design, and a member of the Melbourne Energy Institute and Melbourne Economic Forum. Beyond research, he has actively engaged in public policy by advising on energy market design in Australia and serving as an expert in competition policy cases in Australia and Canada. He received in PhD in Economics from Queen’s University in Canada.

Subject Area Expertise

Industrial Organisation; Energy Economics; Behavioural Economics.


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Responses (5)

Transition to net zero - ape the US Inflation Reduction Act?

Poll 62

Panellists were asked "Which of the options set out below best describes the kind of approach the Australian government should take to the US Inflation Reduction Act? (Pick 1)"


To ensure Australia can be part of newly-developing US-linked supply chains | The payoff to clean-energy innovation has increased | To support homegrown emerging green technologies

Provide more grants to innovative firms across the entire economy

A well-designed grants/incentive scheme will hinge on firms being able to prove value-for-money, and that would incorporate industries that may have a potential boom as we advance with the US Inflation Reduction Act. In effect, a grants scheme should support those industries if they deliver the best value for money, but possibly other industries if they provide the same or better value. A well-designed scheme (I'll emphasise) has built-in flexibility to incorporate many potential future technologies and demands, which is important given the inherent uncertainty along the green energy transition. "Picking winners" based on today's information risks rent-seeking and lacks flexibility.

Reintroduction of the Carbon Price

Poll 61

Worried economists call for a carbon price, a tax on coal exports, and ‘green tariffs’ to get Australia on the path to net zero


Expedite investment in large battery storage | Expedite building new transmission lines to connect renewable energy | Expand the safeguard mechanism to cover more facilities to mimic a broader carbon price

Australia's future competitive advantage will be in low-cost renewable energy investments. To push on this frontier, we need the ability to transmit and store our power at scale for domestic and possibly international use. This points to grid-scale battery storage and transmission network investments. To move to net zero, we also need price incentives. Unfortunately, we have a political climate where a cap and trade carbon price (with redistribution of the tax revenue to households) is not likely not feasible, so expanding our existing incentive schemes (such as the safeguard mechanism) represents a more feasible and immediate path on incentives.

We can and should keep unemployment below 4%, says our survey of top economists

Poll 60

Australia’s leading economists believe Australia can sustain an unemployment rate as low as 3.75% – much lower than the latest Reserve Bank estimate of 4.25% and the Treasury’s latest estimate of 4.5%.


creating more incentives for business R&D, improving the quality of primary and secondary education, reducing taxes and regulations facing businesses


Budget 2023

Poll 59

Our panellists were asked the following 2023 budget question: "On May 9, the government delivered a budget designed, in the Treasurer's words, to strike a balance between relief, repair and restraint'.  What grade would you give the budget, given that objective: A, B, C, D, E or F?"

Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND -


Overall rating: D - Keeping inflationary pressures in check: F


INFLATION COMMENTS: Any claim made by the government that fiscal spending will be non-inflationary is nonsensical and ignores a century worth of economic research.

How economists would raise $20 billion per year

Poll 58

When panellests were asked to find an extra A$20 billion per year to fund government priorities like building nuclear submarines and responding to climate change, Australia’s top economists overwhelmingly back land tax, increased resource taxes, an attack on negative gearing and extending the scope of the goods and services tax.

Photo credit by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash


Efficiency picks: Tax windfall profits Increase the GST Wind back Jobseeker or pension payments Equity picks: Wind back franking credits Introduce inheritance taxes Wind back deductions for negatively geared properties