Last year the Economic Society of Australia surveyed its members on 46 policy issues. On some, it found economists evenly divided: on the merits of the NBN, for example, or whether Australia should promote nuclear power, whether patients should pay more of their health bills, and whether the GST should be lifted so income tax and company tax can be reduced.
But on other issues economic opinion is clear cut. Top of the list is whether taxpayers' money should be spent on big infrastructure projects without an independent publicly released cost-benefit analysis first to check the project stacks up. The survey found 85 per cent of economists want cost-benefit studies to be mandatory. (Who doesn't? Politicians.)
Surprisingly, the second most clear-cut response was on climate change: 79 per cent of economists agreed that price-based mechanisms - a carbon tax, subsidies or an emissions trading scheme - are a better way to tackle climate change than using direct regulation.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Colebatch on carbon pricing
The economists got it right, that's the truth