Working Papers

The Melbourne Institute Working Papers Series presents the results of research projects undertaken by our academic staff.


Economic Policy Uncertainty Spillovers in Booms and Busts

Giovanni Caggiano | Efrem Castelnuovo | Juan Manuel Figueres (2017)

We estimate a nonlinear VAR to quantify the impact of economic policy uncertainty shocks originating in the US on the Canadian unemployment rate in booms and busts. We find strong evidence in favor of asymmetric spillover effects. Unemployment in Canada is shown to react to uncertainty shocks in economic busts only. Such shocks explain about 13% of the variance of the 2-year ahead forecast error of the Canadian unemployment rate in periods of slack vs. just 2% during economic booms. Counterfactu…

Economics of Education and Child Development

The Power of Self-Interest: Effects of Education and Training Entitlements in Later-Life

Cain Polidano | Justin van de Ven | Sarah Voitchovsky (2017)

Education and training among the working-age population has become an increasingly important policy issue as working lives have lengthened and the pace of technological change has quickened. This paper describes the effects of a reform that replaced a supply-driven model, in which government selected the number and providers of publicly subsidised Vocational Education and Training (VET), with a demand-driven approach that broadened access to adult training and gave working-age individuals greate…

Economics of Education and Child Development

Secondary School Teacher Effects on Student Achievement in Australian Schools

Chris Ryan (2017)

This study finds that approaching 10% of the variation in high school student achievement is explained by teacher effects in Australia. It uses data from the 2011 Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) sample of Australian Year 8 students to estimate achievement in mathematics and science with student fixed effects, calculating teacher effects as part of this estimation. Like results in other studies, these teacher effects do not appear to be strongly related to observed teacher charact…

Economic and Social Disadvantage | Health Economics | Household, Income and Labour Dynamics | Labour Economics and Social Policy

The Bilateral Relationship between Depressive Symptoms and Employment Status

Melisa Bubonya | Deborah A. Cobb-Clark | David C. Ribar (2017)

This paper analyzes the bilateral relationship between depressive symptoms and employment status. We find that severe depressive symptoms are partially a consequence of economic inactivity. The incidence of depressive symptoms is higher if individuals have been out of a job for an extended period. Men’s mental health falls as they exit the labor force, while women’s worsens only after they have been out of the labor force for a period of time. Entering unemployment is also associated with a subs…


Uncertainty and Monetary Policy in Good and Bad Times

Giovanni Caggiano | Efrem Castelnuovo | Gabriela Nodari (2017)

We investigate the role played by systematic monetary policy in tackling the real effects of uncertainty shocks in U.S. recessions and expansions. We model key indicators of the business cycle with a nonlinear VAR that allows for different dynamics in busts and booms. Uncertainty shocks are identified by focusing on historical events that are associated to jumps in financial volatility. Uncertainty shocks hitting in recessions are found to trigger a more abrupt drop and a faster recovery in real…

Household, Income and Labour Dynamics

The Structure of the Wage Gap for Temporary Workers: Evidence from Australian Panel Data

Inga Lass | Mark Wooden (2017)

This study uses panel data for Australia from the HILDA Survey to estimate the wage differential between workers in temporary jobs and workers in permanent jobs. Specifically, unconditional quantile regression methods with fixed effects are used to examine how this gap varies over the entire wages distribution. While fixed-term contract workers are on rates of pay that are similar to permanent workers, low-paid casual workers experience a wage penalty and high-paid casual workers a wage premium…

Economic and Social Disadvantage

Women’s Homelessness: International Evidence on Causes, Consequences, Coping and Policies

Guy Johnson | David C. Ribar | Anna Zhu (2017)

This paper reviews international evidence regarding women’s homelessness. It discusses different definitions of homelessness and how women are frequently part of the “hidden homeless” population and less a part of the unsheltered homeless population. It also considers the data that are used to enumerate and study homeless people. The structural, personal, and random causes of homelessness are discussed, with evidence pointing to highly gendered patterns. The paper also describes the consequences…

Household, Income and Labour Dynamics | Labour Economics and Social Policy

The Dynamics of Welfare Participation among Women Who Experienced Teenage Motherhood in Australia

Sung-Hee Jeon | Guyonne Kalb | Ha Vu (2008)

This study examines whether the factors that determine the welfare participation of women who experienced teenage motherhood differ from the factors that determine the welfare participation of women who had their first child at an older age. We examine these factors across the lifetimes of both groups of women. A dynamic random effects probit model is applied to investigate the extent of state dependence in welfare participation while allowing for observed and unobserved individual heterogeneity…

Labour Economics and Social Policy

Australia’s Retirement Income System: Historical Development and Effects of Recent Reforms

Diana Warren (2008)

Over the past decade, changes to Australia’s retirement income policy have been announced in almost every Federal Budget, with no signs yet that reform is coming to an end. Indeed, the Simpler Super reforms announced in the 2006 Federal Budget have been described as the largest overhaul of Australia’s superannuation system since the introduction of compulsory superannuation. This paper describes the current retirement system in Australia and provides a summary of the historical development of th…

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