Research grants

Discovery projects

Funding commencing in 2014

Height, Body Mass Index and Demographic Changes in the Asian Giants

Prof Timothy Hatton, Prof Xin Meng and Dr Daniel Suryadarma

This project aims to examine and explain trends in height and body mass index of the populations of the three Asian Giants, China, India and Indonesia, and to explore the links with two key demographic developments: fertility decline and urbanization. The three parts of the project are (a) Using anthropometric survey data on adults, to compare, contrast and analyse trends at the national and regional levels; (b) To examine the relationship between adult height and childhood family size using econometric methods that account for possible endogeneity; (c) To examine the link between individual BMI and rural or urban residence paying special attention to rural-urban migrants.

Funding commencing in 2013

Optimal taxation when the allocation of time matters

A/Prof M Racionero; Prof AL Booth; Em/Prof P Pestieau

This project aims to incorporate evidence-based models of time allocation, which go beyond the simple division between work and leisure, in optimal tax settings. This approach will help to inform the public policy debate on child support, by questioning whether, and if so how, to subsidise childcare, where parental time use plays a crucial role.

General market equilibrium analysis of securitisable assets in the presence of private information, when contracts are incomplete

Prof R Pitchford; Prof R Tourky

Three key markets (among others) were involved in the gestation of the worst financial crisis seen since the great depression: the market for mortgages and the market for securities, backed by mortgages and housing market. The focus of this project is to examine financial fragility in such markets, theoretically applying outcomes to Australian policy.

Time-consistent macroeconomic policy in nonlinear models

Prof R Dennis; Prof T Kirsanova

Efforts to use fiscal policy for macro-stabilisation have led to elevated debt levels and possible default in many countries. This project examines the appropriate design of fiscal policy and its implications for debt over the business cycle.

Funding commencing in 2012

Estimation of the Continuous Piecewise Linear Model and Macroeconomic Application

Prof Rabee Tourky, Dr Rodney Strachan and Dr Fabrizio Carmignani

The project consists of two components. The contribution of the first component is to develop methods to estimate the continuous piecewise linear model (CPLM) and to conduct inference on the model. The contribution of the second component is to use the CPLM and the new inferential techniques to analyse a number of macroeconomic applications where non-linearities and threshold effects give rise to kinked functions. Examples of these applications are the estimation of (I) non-linear monetary policy reaction functions, (ii) monetary and fiscal policy multipliers, (iii) the pass-through of exchange rate and international commodity prices , and (iv) the threshold effects of inflation and resource intensity on growth.

A new approach to stability analysis for economic systems

Prof J Stachurski; Prof T Kamihigashi

This project will provide a new methodology for analysing stability in economic systems. By enhancing our understanding of stability and instability in markets for assets, credit, commodities and natural resources, this project will help economists forecast likely outcomes and improve the formulation of related economic policy.

Commodity cycles

A/Prof R Fry

The implications of resource demand by emerging markets are issues policy makers need to understand. This project address these by focusing on currency, equity and commodity linkages, the financial market and macroeconomic effects of currency collapse, and the role of emerging markets in mitigating/amplifying economic shock transmission.

Estimation of the continuous piecewise linear model and macroeconomic applications

Prof R Tourky; Dr RW Strachan; Dr F Carmignani

Relationships between economic variables are often characterised by non-linearities. This project develops a method to analyse a type of non-linearity that is frequently encountered in economics and uses this method to study four specific applications concerning the dynamics of inflation, growth, and the

Estimating the impact of fiscal stimulus on household expenditure

Dr Ralf Steinhauser, Dr Emma Aisbett, Dr Markus Brueckner, Ms L iyi Pan

The tax bonus payments of the $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan were among the largest fiscal policy packages in the developed world. This project applies a new methodology to estimate the short-term impact of this cash handout on consumer spending, allowing better modelling of the Australian economy.

Linkage projects

Funding commencing in 2014

A New Phase and New Issues of Rural-Urban Migration in China

Prof Xin Meng, Prof Bob Gregory, Prof. Richard Freeman, Prof. Xiaolu Wang, Ms Helena Bordie and Mr Liangming Lyu

China’s urbanisation has come to a turning point.  The large pool of rural young workers (16-25 years of age), which fed the industrialisation needs of the 1990s and 2000s, has exhausted.  Future growth needs to rely on the increase in the length of stay of the existing migrants and the increase in older new migrants.  Due to this shift, the institutional restrictions, which deter family migration, become the key challenge.  This project examines the cost of the migration restrictions (shortened labour supply and reduced human capital accumulation for the current and next generation migrants: their education, health and pro-social behaviour); and the best way to reform the restrictions on family migration and the priority for the reform.

Funding commencing in 2012

Estimating the impact of fiscal stimulus on household expenditure

Dr Ralf Steinhauser, Dr Emma Aisbett, Dr Markus Brueckner, Ms L iyi Pan

The tax bonus payments of the $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan were among the largest fiscal policy packages in the developed world. This project applies a new methodology to estimate the short-term impact of this cash handout on consumer spending, allowing better modelling of the Australian economy.

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Funding commencing in 2014

Dr Joshua Chan

Quantitative models are essential for formulating good policies. In a changing world, the analysis should be based on models that allow the behaviour of the economy to change over time. Due to computational limitations, however, one is often restricted to linear models, even when nonlinear ones are more appropriate. This project aims to develop new methods for estimating time-varying nonlinear models. Two important applications are also considered: one investigates how the zero lower bound on interest rates affects the monetary policy transmission mechanism; and, the other examines how uncertainties about monetary and fiscal policy affect economic growth and inflation. This project will have strong practical significance for conducting macroeconomic policy.

Funding commencing in 2012

Understanding industrialisation, entrepreneurship, and technology adoption in emerging economies: new evidence from historical Japanese firms

Dr John P Tang

Japan's pre-war industrialisation is widely used as a model by emerging economies, despite a lack of detailed data. This project provides a new firm-level dataset from hitherto unused archives, which allows empirical testing of theories about entrepreneurial activity, technology adoption, financial access, and other determinants of economic growth.

Australian Research Council fellowships

Funding commencing in 2012

Innovative Health Financing Systems under Demographic Shift

Dr Chung Tran

This project develops an analytical tool to investigate the challenge of financing health care under demographic shift and macroeconomic implications. By examining various designs of health insurance systems, it aims to identify a set of optimal cost-sharing strategies in response to such growing health care costs.

Life Choices and Policy: Policy Analysis with Non-standard Preferences

Dr Cagri Kumru

This research program takes as its point of departure the often-observed inconsistencies between the behaviour implied by standard economic consumer preference functions and individual and household behaviour that is actually observed. These inconsistencies have led to a range of suggestions for alternative formalisations of preferences in the Economics literature. More recently, there have been isolated attempts to embed these in life-cycle and overlapping generations (OLG) models, to explore their lifetime utility and aggregate economic impacts, and their implications for policy. This proposal will build on these contributions to systematise the exploration of non-standard preferences that aim to capture aspects of human behaviour such as temptation, lack of self-control, and myopia. It will take documented behavioural traits and formalise them to allow tractability within life cycle and OLG models.

Non-ARC Grants

Funding commencing in 2014

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant

Professor John Stachurski, Nobel Laureate Professor Thomas J. Sargent

The project aims to significantly enhance the computational skills and tools in the economics profession.

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