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Richard Holden

Economics professor

Richard Holden is professor of economics at UNSW Business School and President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Connect with Richard on Twitter.

Richard Holden

Today

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy at Parliament House in Canberra.

How should we judge Albanese Labor on the economy?

By the next election, Australians should know whether Labor is a safe pair of hands. But what would it take to deliver a truly superior economic performance?

This Month

Leafy green prices soared after east coast floods.

Why we won’t have ’70s-style stagflation like your parents knew it

The main reason is that the RBA won’t let it happen. It knows how to avoid it, and it will do whatever it takes to keep inflation expectations under control.

  • Updated

June

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Let the market rule the energy capacity mechanism

Including coal and gas is politically tricky, but logically and economically easy. If fossil fuels can’t compete with other energy sources to provide electrons on demand, they won’t be used.

This decision will put some people back in the jobless queue.

Oversized pay rise is somebody else’s job

Make no mistake. Fair Work’s decision will mean more people on JobSeeker and fewer on minimum wage

When power trumps economics

Even in market relationships like bilateral trade with China, economics has to take account of the balance of political power.

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May

Labor must choose between the Old Way or the Third Way

The Australian economy is undergoing the most significant changes since globalisation in the 1980s. Managing this transition is a task for economic liberalism – even if the Liberal Party is no longer in the game.

The real takeaway was that neither Albanese nor Morrison’s first instinct was to say that productivity growth is the answer for higher wages.

Boosting productivity means everything for higher wages

The political argy-bargy over lifting the minimum wage showed what’s missing from the election campaign is any meaningful national productivity strategy.

The decision was costly for the board and came sooner than RBA governor Philip Lowe had suggested only four weeks ago.

RBA had to act to bolster credibility

Putting up interest rates in the middle of the election to target lower inflation will be costly for the board. But it would have been political not to do so.

April

 There are apparently no limits on what Coalition senator Matt Canavan wants to manufacture in Australia.

Supply chain issues no justification for economic nationalism

The limited case for strategic manufacturing must not lead to Australia turning its back on free trade.

March

Australia needs to find ways of boosting productivity.

We’ll have to think big on budget repair

Australia will need to improve its fiscal position by $40 billion a year. There are good solutions but they have to be radical.

The Russian economy has been crushed by the West’s sanctions.

The polonium pill setting up Russia for a slow death

Western sanctions have inflicted the equivalent poisoning, putting the country and Vladimir Putin on a slide into the stagnation of the late Soviet era.

February

A progressive GST can open the door to structural tax reform

A consumption-tax-free spending threshold for the lower income households would be the fair way to cut income and company tax.

Philip Lowe’s performance at the National Press Club last week was a masterclass in clear thinking and communication.

RBA has got interest rates more right than wrong

There is no US-style inflation here, and the neutral rate of interest is now structurally lower. That’s a chance to keep a three in front of the jobless rate.

January

Here’s how we get to COVID-boring

The road to rendering COVID-19 boring will be a long and hard grind. But grit and ingenuity can get us there.

Not so safe nest egg?: There is an inherent tension in our superannuation system stemming from individuals holding their own accounts and the fund managers investing in illiquid assets.

Why unlisted super assets risk an old-fashioned bank run

What happens if a poor-performing fund that’s heavily invested in illiquid assets can’t pay out members who want to switch?

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December 2021

Rapid-antigen tests are up to 95 per cent as effective as lab-performed PCR tests.

Santa should stuff rapid tests in all our stockings

Forward-thinking governments should be handing out millions of free self-testing kits as we dangle over the omicron cliff.

November 2021

A new variant of COVID-19 has emerged in Africa.

Deal with omicron uncertainty by preparing for the worst

A good precaution for the uncertainty of a new more contagious virus would be making sure the medical regulator makes forward-looking decisions on variant-specific vaccines.

NorthConnex

The hidden costs of your super fund’s illiquid assets

Such assets create a valuation swamp that is riddled with uncertainty, imprecision and moral hazard, and puts a chunk of people’s retirement savings at stake.

Sydney Airport set to join the portfolios of big super.

There is systemic risk mounting up in unlisted super assets

Assets which are harder to price pose intergenerational issues, and compromise the principles of our personal account based super system.

What is most concerning is not what the RBA did but the way they did it.

The Reserve Bank should act like policymakers, not forecasters

What new information will lead the central bank to increase the cash rate? Today’s decision provides zero additional clarity on this.