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Paul Blacklow

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Paul Blacklow

Lecturer
Tasmanian School of Business & Economics

Room 224, Centenary Building, Sandy Bay Campus

+61 3 6226 2283 (phone)

Paul.Blacklow@utas.edu.au

Evoking policy change from the perspective of an economist

“Growing up in Burnie, a poor industrial town at the time, I wanted to know why some Australians were poor and others rich. I also wanted to know why unemployment existed and what factors influenced peoples’ decisions. Economics gave me the answers,” says Dr Paul Blacklow.

“I began my research into the change and disparity in incomes and spending through the 1980s and 90s using a range of macroeconomics models,” Dr Blacklow explains. “However, I found that macroeconomic models being based upon a single “average” Australian, were not sufficient to fully explain the phenomena, so, I turned to microeconomics where variations in demographics, income, spending and the cost of living could be modelled.

Using microeconomics of the household and econometrics to inform policy

Dr Blacklow studies the choices that people and households make and why they make them. When to start a family, whether to buy or rent, whether to work or study and how much to spend on each good are all examples of microeconomic household decisions. Changes in these choices can have significant impact upon the macro economy and society. Dr Blacklow believes that by better understanding these decisions, we are able to explain and predict how people respond to policy and changes in social and economic conditions.

“We need to know how people will alter their behaviour in response to policy changes in order to assess how effective policies will actually be”

Dr Blacklow primarily uses econometrics (the application of statistical methods to economic data) and large household surveys to test and validate economic models of household choice, and estimate how households respond to policy and social change.

Combining the models, econometrics and data allows Dr Blacklow to examine such topics as optimal labour and incomes taxes, the cost of living, education performance, gender wage differences, and the impact of caring on the development of human capital.

More recently, Dr Blacklow has begun working with UTAS colleagues in Experimental Economics, where unique data is collected from a controlled experiment that would not be possible to obtain from survey data. This has allowed him to use his econometric skills to answer questions about behaviour that challenge traditional economic models of behaviour. Developing new models and theories that include this non-standard economic behaviour, should result in better policy development, which more accurately predicts how people will respond.

“Better economic theories lead to better economic policies, which create better outcomes for Australia and the world.

Poverty and Policy

Dr Blacklow regularly participates in Australia’s Anti-Poverty Week. In 2017 at the Hobart event, he and others discussed the possibility of a universal basic income for Australia. Dr Blacklow noted that to pay an income of $30,000 to all Australians, would require all taxation in the country to double! He also noted that it would drastically reduce the labour supply, particularly for low-paying and unpleasant jobs, leading to wage rises in those areas.

Through the University of Tasmania’s unique position, the Economic Society of Australia, and Dr Blacklow’s teaching and media engagements, he has formed special and close relationships with policy makers and community leaders in Tasmania. This has allowed Dr Blacklow to access real world data and investigate policy issues such as illicit drugs, gambling, workers compensation, default rates in microfinance, tax reform and the standard of living for Tasmanians.

Research that makes a difference

Dr Paul Blacklow has taught at the University of Tasmania since 1995, lecturing since 1999. In 2002 he was appointed as an Associate Lecturer after submitting his PhD and promoted to Lecturer in 2005. Paul primarily teaches units in microeconomics and econometrics.

Paul's research interests include: household behaviour, taxation and welfare payments reform, price and cost of living indices, cost of children, inequality and welfare and has published papers in Australian academic refereed journals.  He regularly presents papers at the Econometrics Society Association Meeting (ESAM) and the Australian Conference of Economists (ACE).

From 2004-2010, Paul was president of the Tasmanian Branch of the Economics Society of Australia and organised and chaired the Australian Conference of Economists in 2007.Paul has been interviewed by the media on topics such as prices rises and the CPI, the cost of living, the impact of children, government spending cutbacks, NAPLAN and regulation obesity.

Biography

After graduating Paul worked at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), learning a lot about the ABS's methods and products. After a year he was successful in applying for UTAS PhD scholarship.  He began investigating the then decline in Australia's Household saving rate and increase in consumption using a range of macroeconomics models.  After a few years, changes in staff, and the failure of the macroeconomic models to explain the phenomena, Paul turned to microeconomics and investigated changes in demographics and the distribution of consumption and income. This work constituted his PhD thesis, which was submitted in 2002 and awarded in 2003.  Paul had been tutoring and lecturing throughout his PhD candidature and was appointed as a tenured Associate Lecturer in 2002 and promoted to lecturer in 2005.  Given Paul's limited job experience in the non-academic world, he tries to remain grounded by giving media interviews, public presentations, and provides consultancies to government, business and community sectors.

Career summary

Qualifications

DegreeTitle of ThesisUniversityCountryAwarded
PhD

Inequality, Welfare, Household Composition and Prices: A Comparative Study on Australian and Canadian Data

University of TasmaniaAustralia2003
BEc (Hons)Australia's Foreign Debt University of TasmaniaAustralia1993

Memberships

Professional practice

  • Economic Society of Australia
  • Econometric Society of Australasia
  • European Economic Association
  • ARC Research Design Network

Committee associations

  • Committee Member of the Tasmanian Branch of the Economic Society of Australia

Other

  • Member of the Work, Health & Wellbeing Network at UTAS.

Administrative expertise

Paul manages consultancies, research accounts and research assistants.

Teaching

Microeconomics, Econometrics, Inequality, Poverty and Welfare Analysis, Prices, Cost of Living and Equivalence Scales, Education Performance Analysis, Household Choice and Bargaining, Analytical Dynamic Optimisation

Teaching expertise

Paul has been teaching economics, primarily microeconomics and econometrics for over 15 years primarily at honours and undergraduate level. In particular Paul has taught Honours Microeconomics, 3rdyear Econometrics and Quantitative Methods for over 5 years and Intermediate Microeconomics for over 10 years. During this time he has been responsible for the refined the design and teaching of those units and placed an emphasis on learning applied skills but stressing the importance of the theory underlying the technique. Other units he has taught include Quantitative Economic Analysis, Quantitative Methods, Intermediate Econometrics, Honours Microeconometrics, Statistics for Managers and Economics of Humans Resources.

Teaching responsibility

2016

2015

Research Appointments

'Our Economy Taskforce', a partnership between the Tasmanian State Government and the ā€ŽUniversity of Tasmania, 2005 - 2009.ā€Ž

Gendered Workloads Cross-Disciplinary Research Project funded by the Institute for the Study of Social Change at UTAS, 2015 - 2016.

Research Invitations

  • Applied Microeconomic Seminar Series, Monash University, 17 Sept 2015
  • Prof Stephen Reader Address, Discussion Panel, Tasmanian Council for Adult Literacy 18 October 2014.
  • Senate Inquiry into Income Inequality, Community Affairs References Committee, Hobart Public Hearing, 19 September 2014.
  • UTAS TSBE Economics Flagship Seminar, 'Evaluating Tasmanian Education Performance', 19 February 2015.
  • Tasmanian Leaders Think Tank: Learning to Change Tasmania, 'Is there such a thing as an over-educated population?', University of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 6th December 2013.
  • Tasmanian Economic Forum, 'Tasmanian Primary School Performance', Hobart Function and Conference Centre, Hobart, Tasmania, 10th October 2013.

View more on Dr Paul Blacklow in WARP

Expertise

Research Topics

  • Prices and the Cost of Living
  • Inequality, Poverty and Welfare
  • Primary School NAPLAN Education Performance
  • Household Decisions and Behaviour
  • Taxation and welfare Reform
  • The Cost and the decision to have children
  • Tasmanian and Australian Economy
  • Labour Market

Skills

  • Data Analysis
  • Applied Econometrics (estimate, test and interpret models to quantify relationships).
  • Applied Microeconometrics (estimate, test and interpret models of choice)
  • Cost Benefit Analysis, Project Evaluation, Estimating Economic Impact, Estimating Demand
  • Stata, SAS, EViews, MS Excel (including VBA).
  • Experience in handling large and confidential data sets, such as HILDA, HES-CURF.

Research Themes

Paul's research primarily sits in UTAS's Data, Knowledge and Decisions research theme, but sometimes crosses over into the Better Health theme.

Household and Individual   Behaviour and Choice

Modelling household and individual behaviour/choice with application to demand, labour, education, fertility and home finance decisions.

Prices, Household Composition   Inequality and Welfare

Examining the interaction of prices and household demographics on the Cost of Living and Equivalence Scales and its impact on Welfare and Inequality and Poverty

Applied Econometrics

Applying Econometrics to unique datasets to answer questions for government and other policy makers.

Collaboration

Paul is working with Dr Robert Tanton (Research Director, Regional and Urban Modelling, NATSEM) and Dr Yogi Vidyattama (Senior Research Fellow, NATSEM) on mapping expenditure behaviour across Australia.

Paul is currently a member of the Gendered Workloads Cross-Disciplinary Research Project funded by the Institute for the Study of Social Change at UTAS.  He is part of the Work-family conflict and productivity – what's it costing us? group with Dr Megan Alessandrini (Social Sciences, UTAS), Assoc. Prof. Angela Martin (TSBE, UTAS), Dr Sarah Dawkins (TSBE, UTAS), Prof. Jenn Scott (Psychology, UTAS), Assoc. Prof. Kristy Sanderson (Menzies, UTAS), Dr Romy Winter (Wicking Centre, UTAS), Dr Lucy Tatman (Hum, UTAS), Ms Lisa Denny (Soc Sci RHD, UTAS), Mr Brendan Churchill (Soc Sci RHD, UTAS) and Dr Nicola Goc (Journalism, UTAS).In the past Paul worked with Prof. Ranjan Ray (Monash U), Geoff Lancaster (deceased), Dr Aaron Nicholas (Monash U), Prof. Keith McLaren (Monash U), Prof. Russel Cooper (UNSW) in investigating optimal commodity taxation, degree choice, equivalence scales, inequality and demographic demand systems. 

Paul is working with Dr Carolyn Philpot and Assoc Prof Andrew Legg, both from the Conservatory of Music at UTAS in surveying the members and audiences of Southern Gospel Choir and to determine the effects of its US Tour in late 2014.  This research was made possible by a cross-disciplinary research grant from TSBE.

Current projects

  • Expenditure Behaviour Across Australia with Dr Robert Tanton (Research Director, Regional and Urban Modelling, NATSEM) and Dr Yogi Vidyattama (Senior Research Fellow, NATSEM). https://natsem.canberra.edu.au/models/spatialmsm/
  • Gendered Workloads - Work-family conflict and productivity – what's it costing us? with Dr Megan Alessandrini (Social Sciences, UTAS), Assoc. Prof. Angela Martin (TSBE, UTAS), Dr Sarah Dawkins (TSBE, UTAS), Prof. Jenn Scott (Psychology, UTAS), Assoc. Prof. Kristy Sanderson (Menzies, UTAS), Dr Romy Winter (Wicking Centre, UTAS), Dr Lucy Tatman (Hum, UTAS), Ms Lisa Denny (Soc Sci RHD, UTAS), Mr Brendan Churchill (Soc Sci RHD, UTAS) and Dr Nicola Goc (Journalism, UTAS)
  • The Determinants of Numeracy Test Score Growth within Tasmanian Primary Education with Mr Andrew Kruup (Research Assistant, PhD Student, UTAS)
  • Southern Gospel Choir and its US Tour with Dr Carolyn Philpot (Lecturer, Conservatory of Music , UTAS) and Assoc. Prof. Andrew Legg (Director of the Conservatory of Music, UTAS)

Fields of Research

  • Welfare Economics (140219)
  • Economic Development and Growth (140202)
  • Health Economics (140208)
  • Microeconomic Theory (140104)
  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology (190409)
  • Macroeconomics (incl. Monetary and Fiscal Theory) (140212)
  • Economics of Education (140204)
  • Applied Economics (140299)
  • Industry Economics and Industrial Organisation (140209)
  • Comparative Economic Systems (149901)
  • Urban Sociology and Community Studies (160810)
  • Econometric and Statistical Methods (140302)
  • Economic Models and Forecasting (140303)
  • Financial Economics (140207)
  • Cross-Sectional Analysis (140301)
  • Public Economics- Taxation and Revenue (140215)

Research Objectives

  • Microeconomics (910299)
  • Consumption (910201)
  • Economic Framework (919999)
  • Industry Costs and Structure (910204)
  • Preference, Behaviour and Welfare (910209)
  • Microeconomic Effects of Taxation (910207)
  • Monetary Policy (910108)
  • Micro Labour Market Issues (910208)
  • Management and Productivity (910499)
  • Cancer and Related Disorders (920102)
  • Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society (970116)
  • Music (950101)
  • Finance Services (900101)

Publications

Total publications

17

Highlighted publications

(3 outputs)
YearTypeCitationAltmetrics
2003Journal ArticleBlacklow P, Ray R, 'Intra-Household Resource Allocation, Consumer Preferences and Commodity Tax Reforms: Australian Evidence', The Economic Record, 79, (247) pp. 425-433. ISSN 0013-0249 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4932.2003.00142.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Ray R

Tweet

2002Journal ArticleBlacklow P, Ray R, 'Optimal Commodity Taxes in Australia', The Australian Economic Review, 35, (1) pp. 45-54. ISSN 0004-9018 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1467-8462.00222 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4

Co-authors: Ray R

Tweet

2000Journal ArticleBlacklow P, Ray R, 'A Comparison of Income and Expenditure Inequality Estimates: The Australian Evidence, 1975-76 to 1993-94', The Australian Economic Review, 33, (4) pp. 317-29. ISSN 0004-9018 (2000) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1467-8462.00162 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11

Co-authors: Ray R

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Journal Article

(4 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2010Blacklow P, Nicholas A, Ray R, 'Demographic Demand Systems with Application to Equivalence Scales Estimation and Inequality Analysis: The Australian Evidence', Australian Economic Papers, 49, (3) pp. 161-179. ISSN 0004-900X (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8454.2010.00394.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 5

Tweet

2003Blacklow P, Ray R, 'Intra-Household Resource Allocation, Consumer Preferences and Commodity Tax Reforms: Australian Evidence', The Economic Record, 79, (247) pp. 425-433. ISSN 0013-0249 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4932.2003.00142.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Ray R

Tweet

2002Blacklow P, Ray R, 'Optimal Commodity Taxes in Australia', The Australian Economic Review, 35, (1) pp. 45-54. ISSN 0004-9018 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1467-8462.00222 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4

Co-authors: Ray R

Tweet

2000Blacklow P, Ray R, 'A Comparison of Income and Expenditure Inequality Estimates: The Australian Evidence, 1975-76 to 1993-94', The Australian Economic Review, 33, (4) pp. 317-29. ISSN 0004-9018 (2000) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1467-8462.00162 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11

Co-authors: Ray R

Tweet

Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2018Legg A, Philpott C, Blacklow P, 'Singing the Lord's song in a strange land: An examination of the nexus between the Southern Gospel Choir and the city of Hobart, Tasmania', Made in Australia and New Zealand: Studies in Popular Music, Routledge, S Brunt and G Stahl (ed), New York, pp. 133-144. ISBN 9781138195684 (2018) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Legg A; Philpott C

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Conference Publication

(7 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2008Blacklow P, Nicholas A, 'Assessing Graduate Employment in the Presence of Endogeneity and Sample Selection Bias', Conference Proceedings of the Australian Conference of Economists, 30 September - 4 October 2008, Gold Coast, Queensland, pp. Session 34, Paper 4 (1-32). ISBN 978-0-9591806-4-0 (2008) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2006Blacklow P, Church I, 'Fertility Choices of Australian Couples', Proceedings of the Australian Conference of Economists, 2006, 25-27 September 2006, Perth, Western Australia, pp. Session 31, Paper 2 (1-39). ISBN 1 74067 501 0 (2006) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Church I

2006Blacklow P, Cooper R, Ham R, McLaren K, 'A Regular Demand System with Commodity-Specific Demographic Effects', Proceedings of the 2006 Econometric Society Australian Meeting, July, Alice Springs, pp. Session 12. (2006) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2005Blacklow P, 'Inequality in Australia, 1975-76 to 1998-99', Proceeding of the 34th Australian Conference of Economists (ACE), September, Melbourne, pp. 1-32. ISBN 0734026080 (2005) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2004Blacklow P, 'Inequality in Australia', Proceeding of the 33rd Australian Conference of Economists , September, Sydney, pp. Session 17. ISBN 1864876646 (2004) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2004Blacklow P, 'Life-Cycle Costs of Children', Proceedings of Econometric Society Australian Meeting, July, 2004, pp. Session 12. (2004) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

2003Blacklow P, 'The Impact of Price Movements on Real Welfare through the PS-QAIDS Cost of Living Index for Australia and Canada', Proceedings of the 2003 Econometric Society Australian Meeting , July, Sydney, pp. Session 5. (2003) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(3 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2017Blacklow P, 'Illicit Drug Reform in Tasmania A Cost Benefit Analysis', B Bartl, Community Legal Centres Tasmania, Tasmania (2017) [Consultants Report]

[eCite] [Details]

2007Blacklow P, Felmingham BS, 'Social Cost Benefit Assessment of Power Generation options for the Cook Islands', Hydro Tasmania, 1 (2007) [Consultants Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Felmingham BS

2003Blacklow P, 'Evaluation of the econometric and modelling approach of Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC) Discussin paper 2003/04 Wage Input Costs and Wage Input Costs - Technical Update', Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance, 1 (2003) [Consultants Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Thesis

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2002Blacklow P, 'Inequality, Welfare, Household Composition and Prices A Comparative Study on Australian and Canadian Data' (2002) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2014Blacklow P, Churchill B, Habibis D, Jacobs KA, 'Extent of income inequality in Australia', Community Affairs References Committee, Australia Govenment, online (2014) [Report Other]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Churchill B; Habibis D; Jacobs KA

Grants & Funding

  • The Impact of Illicit Drug Use and Illicit Drug Reform, 2016.
  • Estimating No Interest Loan Scheme Defaults, 2015.
  • Cost of Living and Welfare of Tasmanian Households, for the Tasmanian Department and Premier and Cabinet, March 2014.
  • How Shall We Sing The Lord's Song In a Strange Land?: The Southern Gospel Choir in the USA, with A. Legg and C. Philpott, 2014.
  • Mortgage Choice by Australian Households: A Study in Financial-Market Decision-Making, with G. Wells, 2010
  • Estimate the impact of raising workers compensation premiums on employment in Tasmania, for Work Cover Tasmania, October 2008.
  • Peer review of the report into the economic and social impact of gambling in Tasmania, for the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance, April 2008.
  • Social Cost Benefit Assessment of Power Generation options for the Cook Islands, for Hydro Tasmania, December 2007.
  • Evaluation of the econometric and modelling approach of Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC) discussion paper 2003/04 'Wage Input Costs', for the Tasmanian Department of Treasury and Finance, June 2003.

Funding Summary

Number of grants

7

Total funding

$108,093

Projects

Illicit Drug Reform in Tasmania - A Cost Benefit Analysis (2017)$5,000
Description
This project will construct an estimate of the costs of illicit drug use in Tasmania in 2015-2016 and the costs under decriminalisation, based on data from a range of Australian sources and a brief analysis of the Portugese experience.
Funding
Tasmanian Association of Community Legal Centres Inc. ($5,000)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blacklow P
Year
2017
Inter-Generational Transfer Tax (2016)$909
Description
Estimate the annual revenue raised from an inter-generational transfer tax in Australia.
Funding
Mr Joseph Roach ($909)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blacklow P
Year
2016
NILS Defaults (2015)$6,608
Description
This project will estimate an equation that no Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) Network of Tasmania can use to predict the probability that one of it micro-credit clients will default.
Funding
NILS Network of Tasmania Inc ($6,608)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blacklow P
Year
2015
The analysis of economic wealth and cost of living of Tasmanian households (2014)$72,500
Description
The project will analyse the economic wellbeing and cost of living for groups of Tasmanian households.
Funding
Department of Premier and Cabinet ($72,500)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blacklow P
Year
2014
Mortgage Choice by Australian Households: A Study in Financial-Market Decision-Making (2010)$10,586
Funding
University of Tasmania ($10,586)
Scheme
Grant-Institutional Research Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Wells GM; Blacklow P
Year
2010
Peer Review of the Social and Economic Impact of Gambling in Tasmania Report by the South Australian Centre for Economic Studies (SACES) (2008)$5,000
Funding
Department of Treasury and Finance ($5,000)
Scheme
Consultancy
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blacklow P
Year
2008
Economic Impacts of Worker's Compensation Premiums in Tasmania (2008)$7,490
Funding
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce & Industry ($7,490)
Scheme
Consultancy
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Blacklow P
Year
2008

Research Supervision

Paul has supervised over a dozen honours students on a range of topics, many who have successfully obtained 1st class honours.  Paul has supervised one PhD student to completion and is looking forward for the opportunity to supervise postgraduate students with similar research interests in the future.

Current

4

Completed

2

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
PhDThe Role of FDI on Economic Growth under Different Macroeconomic and Institutional Environment: A comparative analysis for developed and developing economies2017
PhDFinancial Inclusion: a development need for developing countries2018
PhDThe Foreign Direct Investment in Oman and Gulf Countries Council: Impact on economic growth, impact of preferential trade agreements and polices and regulation2018
PhDGender and Equality of Opportunity in Bangladesh2019

Completed

DegreeTitleCompleted
PhDEssays on Asset Pricing
Candidate: Biplob Chowdhury
2017
PhDEstimations of Educational Production Functions and Technical Efficiency of Public Primary Schools in Tasmania
Candidate: Mohd Nahar Mohd Arshad
2012