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PM’s nudge unit gets into podcasting

The Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government has begun podcasting, easing into the format by posting an interview between a staff member and experimental economist Robert Slonim. Read More

New inter-agency team targets ‘welfare traps’ for tax white paper

A new inter-agency team led jointly by Treasury and Social Services staff is looking at how income tax could be tweaked to get more people off welfare. Treasurer Scott Morrison has put bureaucrats from his previous portfolio and Treasury staff at the helm of an inter-departmental working group to look at the link between income tax and welfare payments, with a view to informing the tax white paper that accompanies the federation reform process. It appears the Treasurer believes a large number of welfare recipients would like to pick up tools and become lifters, not leaners, in his predecessor's terminology, but are discouraged from doing so by the interaction between the "complicated welfare system" and income tax arrangements. Read More

Bonds won’t work for every social service

Perverse incentives and measurement challenges are very real, cautions NSW Treasury associate secretary Caralee McLiesh. Social impact bonds are also complicated to arrange and may offer no greater benefit than simply refocusing on outcomes. Read More