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Is the Co-op Bookshop providing value for its members?

Economics 101 is that a monopoly is fundamentally any enterprise with substantial ‘market power’ – that is, the capacity to set prices and cut back on quantity with little, if any, response from customers.  While most monopolies arise through natural monopoly conditions (for example, essential services including water and electricity distribution), others simply develop when circumstances facilitate their entrenched establishment. Such conditions include high barriers to entry for potential competitors, legislative encouragement and context-specific advancement.

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A voice of reason

Despite the ministerial portfolio of communications not outwardly seeming closely related to economics, in the next few years it is shaping up to possibly be the most economically orientated area outside the treasury portfolio. Key upcoming policy decisions pertaining to broadband infrastructure, as well as likely deregulation of the telecommunications and media industries, are at the forefront.

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A ‘rational’ guide to voting at an election

This article forms part of an ongoing series looking at economic issues as Australia heads into the Federal Election. More coverage can be found on the Election 2013 page of ESSA’s website.
The application of economic principles to election voting is a relatively simple process. A completely rational individual would simply vote for the political party that would best enhance their personal utility. If everyone did this, in theory at least, the party whose vision and policies best represented the country would win at an election.

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An overview of the 2013 Australian federal election campaign

This article forms part of an ongoing series looking at economic issues as Australia heads into the Federal Election. More coverage can be found on the Election 2013 page of ESSA’s website.
The primary objective of a major party leader during an election campaign is to gain any advantage possible over one’s opponent. The incumbent ostensibly has a slight advantage in that they get to choose the election date.

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Should you read this?

Good choice! What caused you to click through though? Was it a conscious decision? Also, if you think it was an intentionally conceived action, how do you actually know?
While you may not have spent several minutes comprehensively analysing the costs and benefits of reading this article in order to make an entirely rational choice, there was, if only subliminally, some form of decision-making process behind your decision.

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The economics behind the politics of the federal budget

The Federal Budget is fundamentally – perhaps with a bit of accounting incorporated – an economic conception, right? Wrong. While in an ideal world the political implications of fiscal budgetary processes would be disregarded, the reality is that politics ultimately determines the economics of all government budgets – albeit to various extents. Perhaps paradoxically, however, economics still trumps out in the end. How so? Because the use of economics is often the best way to explain the politics behind the economics.
While last year the use of accounting manipulations was the most demonstrable element of the Federal Budget assailable for extensive analysis, this year there are myriad of components. These will now be explored – largely within the context of the economic concept of private interest theory. This theory is essentially that politicians, including Wayne Swan when preparing the budget, will make rational choices based on their own objectives when in a decision-making position. The primary objective pertaining to the budget for Swan, and by extension the Gillard Government, would ostensibly have been to deliver a well-received budget that will maximise their chances of being re-elected (or at least minimise the number of seats they lose) on September 14.

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Has inflation targeting become a sporting event?

At the time of writing, available odds for this Tuesday’s RBA meeting are $1.40 for rates to remain unchanged, $2.20 for a decrease of up to 25 basis points and then a respectable $19 for a cut between 25 and 50 basis points. Any increase in the cash rate pays $34 but putting money on that would surely be the equivalent of backing a horse with a broken leg – unless it is called Black Caviar perhaps.

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Will the Gonski reforms mean higher teacher salaries?

Great teachers inspire their students profoundly and provide a foundation from which learning is optimally facilitated. They often do not just teach the required material; rather, they show students the process of learning and thus enable them to achieve academically without as much direct teacher instruction and support. Perhaps the greatest problem facing Australia’s education system is that we simply do not have enough of these great teachers.

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