Government Spending

Governments spend taxpayers’ money on a wide range of programmes from education to defence and from welfare to infrastructure. Yet there can be too much of a good thing, and some government spending is just wasteful. How can we ensure that taxpayers are getting value for money?

Publications

Voting for a living: A shift in Australian politics from selling policies to buying votes?
Robert Carling, Terrence O'Brien
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…

Why childcare is not affordable
Eugenie Joseph
29 August 2018 | RR37

Childcare fees and out-of-pocket costs in Australia have been growing above inflation in recent years, at the same time that more parents are using formalised childcare to support their participation in the workforce. Childcare has been subject to growing and evolving regulation for many years,…

Red tape and Australia’s economic malaise
Michael Potter
07 February 2018 | OP164

Australia is in a period of economic malaise. GDP per person has been growing slowly ever since the GFC. Australia’s performance is mediocre compared to other developed countries; by contrast, we outperformed before the GFC. Household incomes and wages are also growing at slow rates,…

From Reform to Retreat: 30 Years of Australian Fiscal Policy
Robert Carling
10 December 2017 | OP161

Australia entered an era of economic reform in the mid-1980s as policymakers resolved to liberalise the country’s economy and strengthen its public finances. Fiscal reform, which is the subject of this paper, was an important part of the process. These reforms included management of the…

Media & Commentary

Tax and spend gets us nowhere
Simon Cowan
02 November 2018 | THE AUSTRALIAN

Does Australia need more tax revenue to provide social welfare, health, education and public goods? Too many people have an instinctive answer that likely bears little relationship to how much…

Budget (almost) balanced; now comes vote buying
Robert Carling
28 September 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

This week’s final budget outcome report for 2017-18 is the best a federal treasurer has been able to present in 10 years, but the success story is qualified. The government…

It’s official: Australia spends more than enough on schools
Blaise Joseph
21 September 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

The education debate at the next federal election is shaping up to be about the magnitude of future school funding increases: the Coalition want a big increase, Labor want an…

Buying votes easier than selling good policies
Robert Carling
07 September 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Does the nature of a democracy change when an increasing majority of its voters receive net benefits from, or are employed by, government — while a diminishing minority shoulders the…

No basis in bias science
Monica Wilkie
07 September 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

News that the Australian Taxation Office has been running unconscious bias training (UBT) courses raises the question: why are taxpayers footing the bill for a potentially flawed psychological test? The…

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