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Economic Issues Papers

The Centre provides periodic Issues Papers focusing on topical economic issues. Issues Papers are provided to Corporate Members - to subscribe see Membership.

Recent Issues Papers are:

  • 2018
    • Insights from the 2016 Census by Anthony Kosturjak
      This paper provides a high level overview of the 2016 census data for South Australia, highlighting notable trends and patterns in relation to demography, labour force, education and incomes. The main conclusion is that South Australia underperformed during the last inter-census period, experiencing unfavourable trends in terms of population ageing, relative size of the working age population, interstate migration, and labour market performance. Such trends not only have implications for public policy in terms of ensuring efficient and effective delivery of public services in respect of health and aged care services, they have implications for business in terms of sustaining access to required skills and labour resources. March 2018.
    • To Ignore Reform is to Ignore Opportunity: Creating a more effective and sustainable public sector by Michael O'Neil and Darryl Gobbett
      Based on a commissioned research consultancy from Business SA, this paper considers the size and performance of the South Australian Public Sector in a small, open economy. The authors ask the question - is there evidence to suggest that the expected requirements of the public sector are being met; evidence to suggest the community has experienced higher quality service standards; that South Australians overall enjoy greater benefits from the public sector than in other jurisdictions? February 2018.
    • Development Strategy for Reinventing South Australia by Michael O'Neil and Darryl Gobbett
      This paper is the fourth and final in a series of four Economic Issues papers that have collectively reviewed South Australia’s economic performance. This final paper explores policies for reinventing South Australia and asks the question: “What are the competitive enhancing policies South Australia must adopt to generate the wealth required to support social and community objectives and environmental development?” January 2018.
  • 2016
    • EFTPOS In Gaming Areas: Wrong Way - Go Back! by Michael O'Neil
      Michael O'Neil considers the merits of an amendment to the South Australian Gaming Machine Act 1992 to remove the prohibition on EFTPOS facilities in gaming areas in hotels and clubs. Consideration is given to the experience of the Victorian Government and industry response to the removal of ATMs from hotels and clubs in that state. The analysis also takes into account evidence from the Productivity Commission's 2010 Gambling report, from the most recent South Australia Gambling Prevalence Survey, and findings from the review of the removal of ATMs from Victorian hotels and clubs. The author concludes that the amendment to permit EFTPOS facilities in gaming areas is not supported by the available evidence, and contradicts recommendations made by other researchers. April 2016.
    • The Aged Structure of the Population and Economic Growth - Does it Matter? by Michael O'Neil and Lauren Kaye
      In this paper the authors investigate the age distribution of the South Australian population and ask what does it imply for public policy, for the labour force, employment and gross state product. Shifts in the employment to population ratio, including by gender, and higher dependency ratios provide important insights into policy challenges facing South Australia including a consistent and unwavering policy emphasis on skills formation and training, increasing the labour force participation rate and the need to re-think and develop the strategic capacity of local government to partner with state and federal government. February 2016.
    • The Regulatory Load in South Australia and Impact on Economic Activity by Darryl Gobbett, Michael O'Neil and Steve Whetton 
      This paper is the third of four papers in the Economic Issues series to review South Australia's macroeconomic performance with reference to historical developments and more recent history. In this paper the authors consider the impact of regulation and industry support policies on economic activity and our search for global competitiveness. It also looks in some detail at a comparative analysis of South Australia with the other States as to how efficiently the State public sector appears to operate. February 2016.
  • 2015
    • Where Do We Go From Here? South Australia's Economic Prospects Going Forward and the Role of Government by Michael O'Neil, Steve Whetton, Darryl Gobbett and Christopher Findlay
      This paper is the second of four papers in the Economic Issues series to review South Australia's macroeconomic performance with reference to  historical developments and more recent history, including a pointer to sustainable comparative advantages (EIP No. 44). This second paper examines the prospects for growth through a more detailed examination of the state's manufacturing sector including the role that the state government can play in assisting the potential to be realised. Two further Issues Papers will examine regulation and industry policy and a consideration of policy responses to reinvigorate this state's economy. July 2015.
    • Should South Australians Really be "Down in the Mouth"? Macroeconomic Performance by Michael O'Neil, Steve Whetton, Darryl Gobbett and Christopher Findlay
      This paper is the first of four papers in the Economic Issues series to review South Australia's macroeconomic performance with reference to historical developments and more recent history, including a pointer to sustainable comparative advantages. This paper sets the scene by providing a review of the state's macroeconomic performance over the last two decades. June 2015.
    • Exceeding the Speed Limit: How Excessive Speeding Fines May Undermine Community Engagement with Government Road Safety Policies by Michael O'Neil and Lauren Kaye
      This paper considers the public discussion on speeding fines and the contribution of road traffic fines in reducing road fatalities. Penalties of this nature have a role to play as does driver training, driver behaviour and attitude to road safety, although on-board car safety features and improvement to the quality of our roads are also significant contributors to road safety. It is well to remember that reinforcement or reward is much more likely to lead to sustainable changes in behaviour than punishment. It is argued that an over-emphasis on traffic policing through the use of fines reinforces the public perception of revenue raising; potentially dilutes the road safety message; and diminishes the authority of government. June 2015.
  • 2014
    • Structural Change: Lessons from Port Augusta's Experience in the 1990s by Michael O'Neil
      This paper draws from a case study of structural adjustment that Port Augusta experienced in the period 1986 to 1996. Like communities that have been dependent on the spatial concentration of the automotive industry, Port Augusta too was dependent on employment and specialisation, but in the rail and power industries. Historical experience demonstrates that adjustment pressures are on-going - how we respond to them is critical to the take-up of new opportunities, employment growth, incomes and exports. Much greater attention and investment in human capital is essential to speed up the transformation of the South Australian economy. July 2014.
    • The Labour Market, Competitiveness, Employment and Economic Prospects by Michael O'Neil, Lauren Kaye and Mark Trevithick
      This paper commences a series of papers on the international competitiveness of the South Australian economy with an overview of long-term trends in the labour market (and a reference to upgrading our skills and training system), an assessment of the competitiveness of industry sectors and trends and prospects in industry. June 2014.
  • 2013
    • Providing Local Economic Stimulus and Promoting Local Economic Development: Possibilities for Councils in South Australia by Michael O'Neil, Cliff Walsh, Anthony Kosturjak and Mark Trevithick
      This paper contains discussion on the theme of local and regional economic development with a particular focus on the role and importance of local government in local, regional and state-wide economic development. Promoting local and regional economic development is integral to the objective of community development; international best practice confirms the importance of "bottoms-up partnerships" involving the community and business leaders in mobilising and strengthening local assets and consistently applying long-term economic development strategies. October 2013.
    • The Task of Strengthening Regional Development by Michael O'Neil
      This paper continues the examination of best practice and new approaches to regional development, where the task of strengthening regional development commences with regions themselves taking the lead role. New understanding (and theory) of regional growth emphasises the importance of local actors and local institutions including that on average, two thirds of business investment comes from already established businesses in the region. "Bottom-up" strategies are critical to the development process; local government has a key role in establishing tripartite partnerships to promote long-term, economic development plans and strategies. September 2013.
    • Localism: Learning from Federal Nation Building (Economic Stimulus) Projects by Michael O'Neil, Steve Whetton and Suraya Abdul Halim
      This paper reviews the evaluations and findings of a number of Federal Nation Building economic stimulus projects with a particular emphasis on the question as to whether some projects could have been better administered and more effectively delivered through local government. What lessons can be learnt from the post-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) experience? September 2013.
    • Re-Thinking Social Policy: Place-Shaped As Well As People-Focused by Cliff Walsh and Michael O'Neil
      This paper takes up the theme of Re-thinking Social Policy, building on an earlier issues paper on Re-Thinking the Approach to Regional Development. It argues that place as well as people focused social policy is similar in many respects to what is called place-based regional policy. Building the capacity of communities in which government plays a supportive role, not controlling role, is critical to addressing the situation of disadvantaged people and communities (i.e. places and people) and is a platform for regional growth and development. May 2013.
    • South Australian Centre for Economic Studies: 30 Year Anniversary - speeches by Gary Banks AO and Gary Sturgess AM.
      On Friday 22 March 2013 the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies held a business luncheon to thank those who have supported SACES since its establishment in 1982. The luncheon featured presentations by Professors Gary Banks AO and Gary Sturgess AM, who were tasked with addressing the theme of ‘Public Administration and Public Policy: Challenges in the C21st’. This issues paper provides copies of their speeches titled Public Policy in the 21st Century: Remembrance of Things Past and Diversity and Contestability in the Public Service Economy, respectively. April 2013.
    • Is Adelaide a University City? by Michael O'Neil and Mark Trevithick
      This paper examines the public policy that is intended to contribute to Adelaide becoming a university city. It does so through defining the characteristics of a university city and sets these characteristics as the benchmark to assess the direction of public policy. Attracting international students and international universities does make a contribution to "Adelaide as a Vibrant City", along with the existing campuses of our three universities. But the critical characteristics that lead to sustainable economic growth are research quality, internationally recognised researchers, the commercialisation of research and the start-up of high technology firms. The number of high technology firms and associated employment are closely linked to world-leading research, the efforts of internationally recognised researchers, knowledge transfers and relational networks. These are the key indicators of a university city. April 2013.
  • 2011
    • Assisting Regions and Communities to Cope with Structural Change: Context, Objectives, Principles and Good Practice by Cliff Walsh and Michael O'Neil
      In this paper, Emeritus Professor Cliff Walsh and Associate Professor Michael O’Neil consider structural change and the adjustment pressures that regions experience. The principal purpose of the paper is to develop: an overarching framework within which structural adjustment issues can be appropriately considered; a statement of general principles of guiding whether, when and how it is appropriate for government to assist regions to cope with structural adjustment pressures, whatever their source; and a set of good-practice principles to appropriately shape the practical design and implementation of regional structural adjustment assistance where it is offered. August 2011.
    • The Economic Consequences of the Euro by Dr Colin Rogers
      This paper considers the current economic crisis in Greece and argues that the governance structure of the Euro is exacerbating the crisis with the potential to turn what is a liquidity crisis (following the flight of private capital) into a solvency crisis. The inability to use state-backed money requires the European Central Bank to fulfil its role as a central bank and accept responsibility for the solvency of member countries. The paper argues that current policy responses are the polar opposite of what is required. July 2011.
    • Banking Competition: The Rhetoric and the Reality by Dr Penny Neal
      The decision by the major Australian banks to raise home loan interest rates by substantially more than the increase in the Reserve Bank's cash rate in November 2010 caused widespread outrage across the community.  The aim of this paper is to take a balanced view and look behind the rhetoric and populist responses engendered by the backlash against the major banks to examine whether the Australian banking sector has become less competitive post the Global Financial Crisis. The paper also seeks to critically assess the policy responses that have been proposed.  A major conclusion of this papaer is that policy responses to support access by the regional banks and the mutual sector to the securitisation and wholesale markets are key to driving competition in the banking sector. May 2011.
    • South Australian Labour Markets: 2000 to 2010 by Mark Trevithick and Michael O'Neil
      A previous Issues Paper which considered trends in the South Australian labour market through the 1990s revealed a poorly performing and stagnant labour market. This paper provides a ‘snapshot perspective’ of the South Australian labour market for the most recent decade and considers the performance of the labour market relative to the 1990s. Between 2000 and 2010 labour market conditions improved, driven by stronger economic conditions, led by growth of the defence and mining industries which generated new employment across a wide range of occupations.  Significant challenges affecting the state’s labour market still remain, including the on-going decline of employment in manufacturing, skills shortages in some service industries and the ageing of the workforce. The paper concludes by offering some suggestions for further research into the South Australian labour market. February 2011.
    • Migration Trends in South Australia by Mark Trevithick
      This Issues Paper analyses recent migration patterns to South Australia over the period 1998/99 to 2008/09.  Net overseas migration was well above the long-term trend during this period.  Permanent skilled migration experienced the strongest increase providing much of the growth in net overseas migration.  The introduction of the Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa in 2004 can explain a portion of the rise in skilled migration, encouraging more migrants to settle in designated low population growth areas such as South Australia.  The paper presents data showing recent growth in migration numbers, including by migration stream and visa type, and provides commentary on some of the causes. January 2011.
    • Decline and Rejuvenation: The Provincial Cities of South Australia by Michael O'Neil, Mark Trevithick, Daisy McGregor and Antony Pietsch
      This paper considers the economic and social rejuvenation of the Provincial Cities of South Australia during the first decade of the 21st Century, and the challenges to maintaining sustainable growth and competitiveness.  The analysis confirms that the economic decline which was observed across the Provincial Cities during the 1980s and 1990s had come to a halt by 2001, with rejuvenation strengthening through the middle part of the decade.  The authors argue that while there has been investment and diversification of employment into new industries, this has not been matched by new vocational and post-secondary infrastructure to raise the skill level of regional populations.  More broadly, there is a need for better planning and identification for regional priorities. January 2011.

Earlier Economic Issues Papers

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