Robert Carling

Senior Fellow, Economics Program

Robert Carling

Expertise: taxation, government spending, fiscal policy, federalism

Robert Carling is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. Robert is researching and writing about fiscal policy, taxation and federalism. Robert’s recent reports include Voting for a living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes? (with co-author Terrence O’Brien) and Too Little; Too Late: Personal Income Tax Reform in Australia.

Prior to joining the CIS, Robert was Executive Director, Economic and Fiscal at the New South Wales Treasury from 1998 to 2006. Previous position have been with Commonwealth Treasury, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He holds academic qualifications in economics and finance from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Georgetown University and the University of Queensland.


Featured Publication

  • The Economic Challenge of Covid-19 08 July 2020 | PP32
    Even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the Australian economy was under-performing its potential and in need of reinvigoration. Economic growth in per capita terms had slowed to a crawl and business investment and productivity growth were depressed. Policy changes that…...
    Even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the Australian economy was under-performing its potential and in need of reinvigoration. Economic growth in per capita terms had slowed to a crawl and business investment and productivity growth were depressed. Policy changes that…
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Media & Commentary

  • The ? recovery 10 July 2020 | Ideas@theCentre
    Living standards, livelihoods and business survival are at stake as the pandemic — and government responses to it — wreak economic havoc. This is why there is so much focus on the depth and duration of the economic slump since…
    Living standards, livelihoods and business survival are at stake as the pandemic — and government responses to it — wreak economic havoc. This is why there is so much focus on the depth and duration of the economic slump since…
    read more
  • 2020 vision of GST 25 June 2020 | Ideas@theCentre
    The Goods and Services Tax (GST) turns 20 next Wednesday, but policy wonks have been talking about it for at least twice as long: first, whether to have it; then how it should be designed; and now whether to make…
    The Goods and Services Tax (GST) turns 20 next Wednesday, but policy wonks have been talking about it for at least twice as long: first, whether to have it; then how it should be designed; and now whether to make…
    read more
  • State finances after the pandemic 04 June 2020 | Ideas@theCentre
    The coronavirus pandemic has drawn state government policies into the response to a national crisis like rarely before. The conventional wisdom is that while the states are wielding much of the power, the Commonwealth will bear the fiscal costs and…
    The coronavirus pandemic has drawn state government policies into the response to a national crisis like rarely before. The conventional wisdom is that while the states are wielding much of the power, the Commonwealth will bear the fiscal costs and…
    read more
  • It’s not just Canberra. The states face a corona budget belting too 03 June 2020 | Spectator
    The coronavirus pandemic has drawn state government policies into the response to a national crisis like rarely before — a consequence of the states’ role in the national cabinet; their control over restrictions and their relaxation; and their health responsibilities.    The conventional wisdom is that while the states are wielding much of the power, the Commonwealth will bear the…
    The coronavirus pandemic has drawn state government policies into the response to a national crisis like rarely before — a consequence of the states’ role in the national cabinet; their control over restrictions and their relaxation; and their health responsibilities.    The conventional wisdom is that while the states are wielding much of the power, the Commonwealth will bear the…
    read more
  • A public servant pay freeze is just the first shot in a long war 02 June 2020 | Sydney Morning Herald
    The Berejiklian government’s one-year pay freeze for the NSW public sector has raised the ire of employees, unions, some pollies, and citizens with warm feelings towards those on the frontline of government service delivery. But the freeze is necessary in…
    The Berejiklian government’s one-year pay freeze for the NSW public sector has raised the ire of employees, unions, some pollies, and citizens with warm feelings towards those on the frontline of government service delivery. But the freeze is necessary in…
    read more

Publications

  • State Finances after the Pandemic 28 May 2020 | PP29
    The strength of Australia’s government finances is an important dimension of economic performance as it helps set the foundations for the delivery of public services, the flexibility governments need to respond to unexpected events and a stable fiscal environment for private sector investment. This strength is being severely tested by…...
    The strength of Australia’s government finances is an important dimension of economic performance as it helps set the foundations for the delivery of public services, the flexibility governments need to respond to unexpected events and a stable fiscal environment for private sector investment. This strength is being severely tested by…
    READ MORE
  • Myth vs Reality: The case against increasing Capital Gains Tax 05 March 2019 | PP18
    Australia’s capital gains tax (CGT) policy has been largely settled for almost 20 years. However, it has come under renewed scrutiny as a result of the Australian Labor Party’s federal election platform proposal to halve the 50% CGT discount and thereby effectively increase the tax by 50%. If the objective…...
    Australia’s capital gains tax (CGT) policy has been largely settled for almost 20 years. However, it has come under renewed scrutiny as a result of the Australian Labor Party’s federal election platform proposal to halve the 50% CGT discount and thereby effectively increase the tax by 50%. If the objective…
    READ MORE
  • Dividend Franking Credit Refunds: principle vs revenue 12 February 2019 | PP16
    Under Australia’s dividend imputation system of taxation, since 2000 taxpayers whose franking credits exceed their tax liability have been paid a cash refund of the excess. The Labor opposition’s policy is to continue with the imputation system but to abolish cash refunds of excess franking credits, subject to a carve-out…...
    Under Australia’s dividend imputation system of taxation, since 2000 taxpayers whose franking credits exceed their tax liability have been paid a cash refund of the excess. The Labor opposition’s policy is to continue with the imputation system but to abolish cash refunds of excess franking credits, subject to a carve-out…
    READ MORE
  • Voting for a living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes? 05 September 2018 | PP9
    This paper explores the hypothesis that growth of government has become self-sustaining through the emergence of a segment of the population that both enjoys sufficient direct support from government and is large enough that political parties shape policies to curry its favour. The researchers use the Australian Bureau of Statistics’…...
    This paper explores the hypothesis that growth of government has become self-sustaining through the emergence of a segment of the population that both enjoys sufficient direct support from government and is large enough that political parties shape policies to curry its favour. The researchers use the Australian Bureau of Statistics’…
    READ MORE
  • Too Little; Too Late: Personal Income Tax Reform in Australia 13 June 2018 | PP5
    The main thrust of the Government’s proposed personal income tax changes announced in the 2018-19 Budget is welcome, but they could be improved to better promote economic efficiency. Also, implementation should be brought forward, with the earlier revenue losses offset by tighter expenditure management. Specifically, the government’s proposal should be…...
    The main thrust of the Government’s proposed personal income tax changes announced in the 2018-19 Budget is welcome, but they could be improved to better promote economic efficiency. Also, implementation should be brought forward, with the earlier revenue losses offset by tighter expenditure management. Specifically, the government’s proposal should be…
    READ MORE