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In the 1950s and 1960s unemployment averaged about 2 per cent. The lowest level of unemployment in the last twenty years was double that and long term unemployment, virtually unknown in the 1950s and 1960s, has been a severe problem. In each period there were two major slumps. We examine the progress of each slump and macroeconomic policy responses in each case, in order to search for reasons for this contrast. The priority given to minimising unemployment rather than restraining inflation is the most important difference between the two periods. Other major principles stand out, the most important of which are that in response to a downturn a fiscal policy stimulus is essential and must play the major part of any response; and that implementation must be swift and then followed up by further measures if necessary.
This paper examines the nature of the ‘convergence of vision’ that is said to have existed within mainstream macroeconomics prior to the ‘global economic recession’, and which has been the subject of strong criticism in recent times from Nobel Laureates such as Krugman, Akerlof and Solow. The nature of a proposed ‘Keynesian revival’ is also examined, and it is concluded that while the required changes in theoretical content and methodological perspective are substantial, the most significant obstacle to be overcome is to be found in what Keynes had referred to as the ‘metaphysical principles’ upon which laissez faire has been founded.
Supply chain security presents numerous challenges to governments interested in defending against terrorist threats. While most approaches stress technological solutions, scholars and policy-makers tend to overlook economics, labour market issues, and industrial relations. Applying agency theory from behavioural economics, this article analyses threats to the US supply chain and opportunities for efficient solutions. Using data from a sophisticated web-based survey of owner-operator cost-of-operations, it shows that drayage drivers are among the lowest paid truck drivers and workers in the US. We provide evidence that low pay is associated with both safety and security risk. Low-wage labour and subcontracting present challenges to US and foreign supply-chain security because the market attracts workers who have few other employment options. In this environment, principals and agents currently make inefficient and inequitable contracts because markets do not reflect the complete costs associated with low-probability/high-impact events like cargo theft and transport security.
This paper examines the privatisation of Sydney Airport and the regime of ‘light-handed’ monitoring of service quality and airport charges that followed the sale in 2002. The arguments for privatisation are reviewed, in particular the need for increased competition and/or appropriate regulation where a former public monopoly, such as Sydney Airport, is sold. The aftermath of the privatisation of the airport has led to complaints by the major airlines and consumers of ever increasing charges for use of the airfield and for car parking and other services. This highlights that the ‘light-handed’ monitoring regime has not constrained the airport’s ability to charge monopoly rents. The aftermath of privatisation has resulted in labour shedding, outsourcing and a focus on cost minimisation by the airport’s management.
The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is currently being negotiated between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Peru, Chile, Vietnam and Malaysia. The TPPA is intended to multilateralise the bilateral legally binding agreements the US has with four of these countries, including Australia, as the building block for a legally binding Free Trade Agreement in the Asia Pacific area. The TPPA re-opens many of the issues debated in the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement in 2004. These include pressures from US industry groups for changes to Australian regulation like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, regulation and labelling of genetically engineered foods and local content rules for Australian media. The paper analyses the endurance of the agenda despite the changes of government in the US and Australia since 2004, and discusses the contradictions and uncertainties of the strategy in Australia and in the Asia Pacific.
In the last decade, the increased complexity of, and levels of access to, financial products and services, together with rising household debt and the funding of an ageing population, have prompted the State to place increased focus on financial education, with the dual objectives of regulating to enhance market efficiency and mitigating social welfare issues attributed to poor financial decisions. Financial literacy is crucial for young adults as they embark on life events involving major expenditure and debt, particularly for university students who have already accrued a debt based on Higher Education contribution scheme liability and who are making labour market decisions. This paper investigates the determining factors of personal financial literacy levels among a sample of university students at different stages of study and across diverse study areas including business, education, arts, humanities and the sciences; with some interesting findings for policy makers. It also provides indicative evidence of students’ preferred method of learning more about personal finance to facilitate the effective design of personal financial literacy programs.