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Policy Opinion Survey of Australian Economists 2011

1. Are you a current member of the Economics Society of Australia?


Response Percent Yes No 85.3% 14.7% answered question skipped question Response Count 489 84 573 4

2. How old are you?


Response Percent 0-24 25-44 45-64 65+ 6.4% 43.6% 41.8% 8.2% answered question skipped question Response Count 37 250 240 47 574 3

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3. Are you female or male?


Response Percent Female Male 18.8% 81.2% answered question skipped question Response Count 108 466 574 3

4. What is your highest completed educational qualification?


Response Percent High school Bachelor degree (Pass), or equivalent Bachelor degree (Honours), or equivalent Masters degree PhD 1.4% Response Count 8

12.9%

74

19.1%

110

29.2% 37.4% answered question skipped question

168 215 575 2

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5. What is your current employment status?


Response Percent Response Count

Employed; as an economist Employed; as a non-economist Student Other

63.5% 22.8% 6.3% 7.5% answered question skipped question

365 131 36 43 575 2

6. If employed, what sector are you currently employed in?


Response Percent Private sector Public sector Not for profit sector University sector 25.7% 33.5% 3.8% 37.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 135 176 20 194 525 52

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7. Please respond to the following statements.

Disagree or Disagree Strongly

Neither Agree nor Disagree/Unsure

Agree or Agree Strongly

Response count

There would be less unemployment if the minimum wage was lowered.

37.6%

17.3%

45.1%

550

There is a natural rate of unemployment to which the economy tends in the long run.

25.3%

15.8%

58.9%

549

The national government should aim to balance the budget over a complete economic cycle.

18.1%

10.3%

71.6%

552

A substantial increase in public spending is an appropriate response to a severe recession.

15.1%

9.3%

75.7%

551

A substantial tax cut is an appropriate response to a severe recession.

35.5%

21.9%

42.6%

549

Substantial monetary easing is an appropriate response to a severe recession.

9.4%

14.7%

75.9%

552

The Reserve Bank of Australia should focus on a low rate of inflation rather than on employment or economic growth.

34.7%

16.4%

48.9%

548

Inflation is caused primarily by growth in the money supply.

39.2%

21.2%

39.6%

551

The Australian government should cut middleclass welfare, and increase the assistance given to the disabled and the severely disadvantaged.

15.5%

17.7%

66.8%

549

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8. Please respond to the following statements.

Disagree or Disagree Strongly

Neither Agree nor Disagree/Unsure

Agree or Agree Strongly

Response count

Lower marginal income tax rates reduce leisure and increase work effort.

29.1%

29.3%

41.7%

540

Income tax rate thresholds for Australia should be indexed.

12.2%

15.1%

72.7%

542

The Goods and Services Tax should be increased and personal and company income taxes correspondingly reduced.

39.0%

21.5%

39.5%

539

A national excess profits tax should be levied on mining industries.

18.8%

7.2%

74.0%

542

Personal taxation should be based on family income, not individual income.

38.2%

21.2%

40.6%

539

The government should adopt policies to make the size distribution of income in Australia more equal than it presently is. The Australian government should extend its guarantee of bank deposits of up to A$1 million beyond October 2011.

33.0%

22.7%

44.3%

542

60.4%

20.3%

19.3%

538

Contribution rates of compulsory superannuation in Australia should be increased.

28.1%

20.3%

51.6%

541

Australia should reduce the proportion of its GDP spent on overseas aid.

65.1%

19.2%

15.7%

542

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9. Please respond to the following statements.

Disagree or Disagree Strongly

Neither Agree nor Disagree/Unsure

Agree or Agree Strongly

Response count

Some restrictions on the free flow of financial capital significantly assist the stability and soundness of the international financial system. Australia should unilaterally reduce all artificial barriers to international trade including subsidies, tariffs and import quotas.

22.9%

19.1%

58.0%

529

26.6%

14.9%

58.5%

530

Large balance of trade deficits have adverse effects on the economy.

37.9%

29.0%

33.1%

531

Government micro-economic policy in Australia should mainly be about correcting market failures. Competition laws should be enforced vigorously to reduce market power from its current level. Jail sentences are an appropriate punishment option for executives found guilty of participating in price fixing.

14.5%

11.7%

73.8%

531

11.9%

21.5%

66.6%

530

9.6%

14.7%

75.7%

531

Consumer protection laws generally reduce economic efficiency.

62.0%

20.7%

17.3%

531

Non-government secondary schools should continue to receive government funding.

29.3%

16.5%

54.1%

532

Australian company boards should be required to have a minimum number of women directors.

59.8%

19.9%

20.3%

532

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10. Please respond to the following statements.

Disagree or Disagree Strongly

Neither Agree nor Disagree/Unsure

Agree or Agree Strongly

Response count

Price-based mechanisms - taxes, subsidies or an emissions trading scheme - as opposed to direct regulation, are the more appropriate mechanisms for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

11.3%

9.4%

79.3%

531

The Australian government should promote the development of domestic nuclear power production.

37.6%

23.7%

38.7%

532

Australian governments should introduce congestion pricing for road use in cities.

14.3%

12.6%

73.1%

531

It is appropriate for Australia to restrict the access of immigrants to some social security benefits.

39.1%

17.9%

43.0%

530

There should be an increase in the intake of skilled immigrants to Australia.

13.6%

23.0%

63.5%

531

The Baby Bonus should be abolished.

15.7%

13.8%

70.6%

530

The First Home Buyers Grant should be abolished.

16.4%

10.8%

72.8%

530

Stamp duties on the transfer of ownership of homes should be abolished.

19.2%

15.6%

65.2%

531

Increasing federal government power relative to that of the states leads to increased economic efficiency.

35.0%

33.3%

31.6%

531

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11. Please respond to the following statements.

Disagree or Disagree Strongly

Neither Agree nor Disagree/Unsure

Agree or Agree Strongly

Response count

The Australian government should increase the proportion of public health costs recovered via payments by patients.

37.6%

25.0%

37.4%

529

The Private Health Insurance rebate should be abolished.

46.1%

21.3%

32.6%

531

Governments in Australia should provide greater economic incentives to improve diet.

27.2%

21.3%

51.5%

530

Adjusting online shopping prices based on the consumer's search, browser or purchase history should be illegal. The Australian government should ensure that all Australians have access to fast broadband at a nationally uniform wholesale price.

25.0%

26.9%

48.0%

531

42.6%

15.3%

42.1%

530

Australia Post should lose its monopoly on the carriage of letters.

37.5%

25.0%

37.5%

531

The lengths of time granted for copyright protection in Australia should be reduced. In communities affected by natural disasters, the government should provide the same level of financial assistance to households regardless of the household's level of insurance. Prior to approval of any major public infrastructure project, an independent and expert cost-benefit study should be conducted and released publicly.

21.9%

39.5%

38.6%

529

43.5%

17.0%

39.5%

529

8.5%

6.6%

84.9%

531

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12. Please respond to the following statements.

Disagree or Disagree Strongly The ranking of academic journals by the Australian government, solely on the basis of their international reputations, will discourage research on Australian economic policy issues. Most articles in refereed economics journals are published solely on the basis of their contribution to economic science. The government gives too little resources to research and education in economics, compared with other academic disciplines. Australian undergraduate honours economics programs sufficiently prepare students for work as economists in the private sector. Australian undergraduate honours economics programs sufficiently prepare students for work as economists in the public sector. In Australia, undergraduate economics is taught with excessive mathematical rigour. Undergraduate pass degrees in economics should be four years. Australian undergraduate economics degree programs should contain more behavioural economics and experimental economics. Australian undergraduate economics degree programs should contain more subjects that place economics in a broader context, such as economic history, history of economic thought and political economy. Doctoral programs in economics in Australia generally offer high quality training. The Economics Society of Australia should develop and maintain a code of professional ethics that applies to all members. Economists are held in lower regard than in the past.

Neither Agree nor Disagree/Unsure

Agree or Agree Strongly

Response count

13.6%

28.5%

57.8%

529

27.7%

39.8%

32.4%

527

12.5%

44.2%

43.3%

529

21.7%

38.7%

39.6%

530

23.1%

30.7%

46.2%

528

48.7% 41.4%

26.4% 29.1%

24.9% 29.5%

530 529

15.3%

27.0%

57.7%

530

11.3%

13.0%

75.6%

529

17.0%

47.4%

35.5%

529

17.0%

22.3%

60.8%

530

23.6%

31.3%

45.1%

530

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13. If you have any comments you would like to make on economic policy, the economics profession, or on this survey, please write them below.
Response Count 131 answered question skipped question 131 446

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