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Monetising organ donations

Every day three Australians die or suffer needlessly waiting for a transplant because we have poor organ donation rates. However, organ shortages are a universal problem. It has been estimated more than a million people are awaiting kidney transplants in the world.

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Terrorism, fear and the impacts on economic rationality

The recent terrorist attacks in Kenya and Pakistan have reinvigorated the worldwide fear of extremist violence. The far-reaching effects of these tragic events have substantial impacts on the way people choose to live their lives. Terrorism induces fear. This natural human reaction causes subjective beliefs and reality to diverge. Exploring the consequences of terrorism is a challenge for economists, especially with regard to the effects on rationality, consumption and economic behaviour.

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Out of their league

One of the things that struck me most while on exchange at the University of North Carolina (UNC) is that it really is like being in a movie. While there are no meticulous canteen table partitions according to social status, on the playing field, which is where college spirit bursts forth – in the same zeal as American patriotism – the image is exactly like those scenes in Remember the Titans, Rudy, The Blind Side, etc…

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Are your parents about to rip you off?

Today I want to talk about superannuation.

No! No! Don’t stop reading.

Seriously, this is important.

Yes, I know that many readers of this site are below thirty, so that an article on superannuation has about as much appeal as a discussing aged accommodation and colonoscopies.

But it is not your superannuation I want to talk about. It is your parents’.

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Doctor, do I really need this: An insight into the motivations behind medical overservicing

I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m being called back to the doctor for no reason – to take another ‘all-clear’ blood test, have a six-monthly examination I didn’t know I needed, or simply undertake a fitness check - all to be told that, at the end of being poked and prodded I am just as healthy as I was beforehand. Go figure.

While being able to access healthcare so readily is no doubt a good thing (and puts Australia above most of the rest of the world in terms of living standards), over recent years researchers have identified a curious phenomenon unique to the health market – the idea of ‘supplier-induced demand’.

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Three ways economics can make you a better student

The clock is ticking down towards the start of the semester. You know those scenes in films where a military unit is checking all their gear, lining up their sights, strapping themselves in? That’s what university students are doing right now. You can hear (or overhear) it in the conversations on campus.


Take this one, for instance:

Student 1: “So, what happens in tutes, then? Do you need to bring the textbook?”

Student 2: “Um…maybe? Dunno. D’you know if it’s an easy subject?”

Those were first years, figuring out how exactly it is you go about studying at university, and trying to pick low-hanging-fruit electives.


Here’s another:

Student 1: “I’m not falling behind this semester.”

Student 2: “Yeah, me too. Gonna do the reading.”

Student 1: “Yep. Gonna do it before class.”

No points for guessing that these were returning students, promising themselves they’ll do at least some things differently this time – try to improve on their past performance by learning from past mistakes.

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A hell of an incentive for murder: a rationalist’s guide to suicide

Republished from The Conversation
By Mike Pottenger, University of Melbourne

The Holy Roman Empire, 1704: Agnes Catherina Schickin slits the throat of a seven-year-old boy.

1746: Johanna Martauschin smashes the skull of a small child.

1753: Sophia Charlotte Krügerin cuts the throat of a nine-year-old boy.

1761: Eva Lizlfelnerin steals a baby and throws it into a river to drown.

These tales are true, blood-curdling, and perhaps more chillingly still, are the stories of people whose behaviour can be considered rational.

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Standing in the Way

Sourced from Uncommon fritillary (Own work)

By Brendan Law, ESSA Vice-President 2012

The essence behind Free-Market ‘capitalism’ is the idea that the provision of incentives, say, a profit-motive, or some significant tangible benefit, create a response within a particular market that allows it to organise itself, and for goods to be produced in the most efficient way, in the desired quantities and prices.

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