The Kouk's top 40 hits and misses

more Over the summer break, while fiddling through data bases, reading and just being interested in things, I unearthed a few quirky bits and pieces about the Australian economy, people, sport

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more Stephen Koukoulas has a rare and specialised professional experience over more than 25 years as an economist in Treasury, as Global Head of economic and market research, a Chief Economist
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Is the interest rate cutting cycle over?

Fri, 17 Apr 2015

Relative to market pricing, the economy is starting looking a little better than it was a few months ago, a time when I changed my view on the Australian dollar and interest rates Early days, but so far so good on this call.

Yesterday’s labour force data matched the recent solid rise in retail spending and the spectacular boom in housing construction evident over the last year. The domestic economy is, maybe, on a path to stronger growth with the sources of strength happening to be in labour intensive sectors while the weakness in is areas that does not employment a lot of people. By that I mean the number of workers needed to make an extra $1 million worth of café lattes is considerably more than the number needed to dig out an extra $1 million worth of iron ore.

The unhealthy obsession with the drop in iron ore prices has blind-sided many to the other 90 to 95 per cent of the economy. The trick in economic forecasting and market strategy is, it should be obvious, to look at all aspects of activity all of the time, even if there are outsized moves in some sectors.

Should the anti-vaccination crowd be paid to immunise their children?

Mon, 13 Apr 2015

If the Coalition government applied the same criteria used for its Direct Action on climate change to the problem of people not immunisating their children, it would pay the anti-vaccination crowd to have their children jabbed and not act to make their financial position worse off.

Indeed, the Coalition reckons that if they cut family payments and childcare rebates to parents who don’t vaccinate their children, immunisation rates will rise.

Maybe they will. Maybe they wont. I certainly don’t know enough about the reasons why some parents don’t vaccinate their children to know whether that financial incentive will work. After all, the anti-vaccination people seem adamant that they want to have their children exposed to illnesses that might kill them, with financial incentives seemingly not an issue. I suppose there are many different sorts of child neglect.