School of Economics - Ph.D, A.M. Harvard | BEc (Hons) Sydney
Richard Holden is Professor of Economics at UNSW Business School, director of the Economics of Education Knowledge Hub @UNSWBusiness, co-director of the New Economic Policy Initiative, and President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Prior to that he was on the faculty at the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He received an AM and a PhD in economics from Harvard University. His research focuses on contract theory, organizational economics, law and economics, and political economy. He has written on topics including: network capital, political districting, the boundary of the firm, incentives in organizations, mechanism design, voting rules, and blockchain.
Professor Holden has published in top general interest journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Economic Review and Review of Economic Studies. He is currently editor of the Journal of Law and Economics.
He has been a Visiting Professor of Economics at the MIT Department of Economics and the MIT Sloan School of Management, Visiting Professor of Economics at the Harvard Economics Department, and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School and Columbia Law School.
From This Author
"Burn and mint": the best approach to launching an ICO?
There is one particular approach to launching ICOs for blockchain-based start-up projects that strikes the right balance for potential investors
Why boards need to take action on power-hungry leaders
Leaders who consolidate power through retaining decision-making rights are willing to sacrifice their organisation’s expected earnings in order to retain control
The spending Budget: a turnaround story (with a $40 billion problem)
While the 2022-23 budget is a remarkable turnaround, the next government must close the deficit gap without resorting to austerity, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Neoliberalism and harnessing markets for economic and social good
It’s time for a new brand of democratic liberalism, one that understands and harnesses the power of markets for social and economic good, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why Australia’s hairdressing-led economic recovery can’t last
The federal budget will require more than a rebound in restaurant meals and haircuts in order to drive future economic growth, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Stealth tax rises are eating into your income – but we know the solution
To eliminate tax rises stemming from bracket creep, governments need to index income tax thresholds to inflation, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Unemployment needs to be lower but future-proofing jobs lifts wages too
Australia needs a tighter labour market and better education policies to help workers acquire the skills needed in the future, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Small businesses need a national support plan to survive the COVID-19 pandemic
Small businesses need a national support plan which would simultaneously deliver a shot of confidence for consumers for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Australia's mortgage interest rates are fixed for shareholders, not home owners
There is no reason why Australia can't restructure the mortgage market to better protect borrowers from swings in interest rates, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why it’s too early for the RBA to pull the trigger on interest rates
The case for the RBA increasing interest rates certainly exists, but it’s far less pressing than the situation in the US, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Governments should disclose more COVID-19 information (not play bingo with statistics)
With COVID-19 dominating Australians’ lives, governments should disclose as much information about infections, hospitalisations and deaths as possible, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
The three problems with fines for not reporting positive COVID tests
There are a number of good reasons why the $1000 fine for failing to report a positive rapid antigen test is a bad idea, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Sydney to Newcastle fast rail makes sense. Making trains locally does not
There are numerous government policy challenges associated with high-speed rail in Australia which require careful consideration, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Budget update: no sign of a return to austerity as Frydenberg prevails
The economy looks to bounce back in the short-term but the predictions for long-term growth are not as optimistic, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
The case against death duties just got stronger
The Productivity Commission’s startling finding is that passing on wealth actually cuts inequality, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Albanese to come clean on emissions targets, but a carbon price is still hush-hush
The Australian Labor Party is set to release its plan to reduce emissions and boost renewable energy initiatives – but it is still running scared from the best mechanism to achieve them?
Meet Lael Brainard, Biden’s new pick at the US Federal Reserve
Lael Brainard has been pushing the US Federal Reserve to consider exposure to climate change in its regulation and analysis of banks, sparking fury from Republican senators – and even a Nobel Prize winner
Why news on wages points to anything but hyperinflation
True wages growth, and true price growth, is probably less than the official figures suggest – meaning there’s no need for alarm about inflation in Australia, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why we need less marketing and more markets to get to net zero
The prime minister road-tested an avalanche of marketing slogans – some of them clearly false, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
A lesson from King Solomon: how good leaders can make good decisions
Today's economists are tantalisingly close to getting 'implementation theory' right, but there’s still work to be done, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Slower Chinese economic growth inevitable without internal reform
For China to continue its economic growth, it will need to invest more in human capital and ensure a stable and predictable legal regime, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Did JobKeeper save Australia's economy from COVID-19?
When COVID-19 struck, Australia’s Treasury didn’t have the luxury of years of work, refinement and debate to develop JobKeeper – it had to perform battlefield surgery, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
A bad economic bet: What will climate change inaction cost Australia?
From higher mortgages to hoarding outdated technologies, how will the government's current stance on climate change affect the economy for Australians?
Laugh at the US if you will, but Australia narrowly escaped a debt ceiling
The US debt ceiling is a form of self-delusion and Australian politicians made the right decision in abolishing the country's own debt ceiling, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why Evergrande's executives can expect a fate worse than debt
The Chinese government could mitigate economic fallout while deterring corrupt behaviour in addressing the Evergrande crisis, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
A simple way to cut carbon emissions: don't let polluters hide
Disclosure requirements force companies to own up to their customers and investors and face the reality of their carbon emissions, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
We're doing well despite Delta, but 3 major economic challenges loom
Australia faces problems with its economic road to recovery if three big structural reform areas are not addressed, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Is Australia’s coronavirus bill a debt burden future generations must bear?
The Australian government is spending at unprecedented levels with the coronavirus pandemic. Where does this money come from, and can governments keep borrowing – without saddling young people with too much debt?
4.6% unemployment rate hints at what’s possible, but it’s not the real thing
The latest ABS labour force figures provide the first tiny glimpse into the labour-market fallout from Australia’s recent lockdowns, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
If you want predictions, ask an astrologer. Economists have better things to do
Economists have contributed to a richer understanding of important public-policy questions by combining rich data with clever empirical methods, says UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Uber’s impact on traffic accidents is a lesson in calculating social benefit
New research shows Uber has led to a reduction in drunk driving and offers a system to tally up the total social value of other business or technological innovations
What are the external factors that influence academic excellence?
There are a number of significant social and community-related factors outside of the school system which play an important role in academic excellence
Why most economists continue to back lockdowns
Dealing with the pandemic requires collaboration and insights from a range of disciplines, write UNSW Business School's Richard Holden and The University of Queensland's John Quiggin
Australia's unemployment rate hits decade low amid lockdown gloom
Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen below 5 per cent for the first time in a decade, but it's not time to celebrate just yet, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why RBA's forward guidance on interest rate policy is a dangerous game
The Reserve Bank Governor's 'forward guidance' approach runs the risk of being unable to adapt to changing circumstances, says UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
How to halve serious injuries and deaths from teenage driving accidents
Australia appears to have cracked the case on teen driver safety by restricting late-night passengers, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why has growth slowed globally? It has something to do with technology
Innovations in technology are needed to boost productivity, improve living standards and lift GDP, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why it’s not the Reserve Bank’s job to worry about housing prices
Although the prospect of inflation is an important consideration, the Reserve Bank of Australia shouldn't be spooked into raising interest rates, says UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why ASIC’s crusade against activist short selling will be bad for regular folk
Activist short selling plays an important role in keeping financial markets accountable and efficient, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Bounce-back in private business investments signals possibility of very good news
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveal businesses are optimistic about the future and are looking to expand despite ever-present uncertainties, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Wages growth desultory, unemployment stunning
Australia's official unemployment rate falling to 5.5 per cent is enough to make a treasurer dance. But with low wages growth we shouldn't get too carried away, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Budget 2021-22: the floppy-V-shaped recovery
While the federal government is spending big in the budget, this won't necessarily translate into stronger employment and wages growth, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why the RBA wants to cut unemployment, not soaring house prices
The RBA has said it will look to zero in on unemployment, but this puts the onus on the government to take action to rein in home prices, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Should the government worry about its record debt in the federal budget?
While the federal government is currently carrying record levels of debt, there are more important considerations for the Australian economy in the federal budget, says UNSW Business School
Does the government’s budget childcare package fall short?
As Australia’s economy emerges from recession in 2020, universal basic childcare is a no-brainer when it comes to stimulating growth and productivity, says UNSW Business School
Three economic facts point to a big-spending federal budget
Inflation, interest rates and booming mining royalties give the Morrison government scope to ignore the deficit daleks, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
How diversity can be leveraged to drive organisational performance
Greater diversity doesn't necessarily equal better performance, and organisations still have to be mindful of how diversity is managed in order to improve performance, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Christine Holgate’s ‘principal’ error was applying corporate logic to Australia Post
Private-sector incentives don’t lead to the best outcomes when an organisation such as Australia Post needs to balance a hard-to-measure social mission with a relatively easy-to-measure corporate mission, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
To fix Australia’s housing affordability crisis, negative gearing must go
Failing to address skyrocketing housing prices risks the future of young Australians and the financial system, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why swaps, options and other derivatives aren’t just for the financial elite
While there has been plenty of justified criticism of the financial sector in recent years, new and better financial products can help small-time investors, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Overcoming inequality: the not-so-hidden-cost of modern economics
We must rethink the political and ideological factors that have led to inequality in order to achieve a new era of economic justice, says French economist Thomas Piketty
Why Yallourn's closure signals it's high time for a carbon price
For an orderly transition away from fossil fuels, Australia needs a carbon price to replace its hodgepodge of clumsy government interventions, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
In the battle over interest rates, it is unwise to bet against the RBA
The RBA will win whatever battle it chooses to fight because, unlike traders, it can create as many Australian dollars as it needs in order to buy as many bonds as it needs, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
What if Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package is too big?
The Biden administration’s stimulus package has been criticised as unncessarily large, but it's better to run the risk of spending too big rather than too small, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Australia's recovery hinges on government spending and vaccine rollout
Australia's economic recovery from COVID-19 depends on government spending and how quickly we get the vaccine, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why any talk of raising interest rates is a huge mistake
Australia's economy still needs all the support it can get, which means the Reserve Bank should stick to its guns and keep interest rates low, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Biden’s economic centrism isn’t exciting, but right for these divisive times
Joe Biden's middling economic policies offer a chance to cut through the bitter polarisation of US politics, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
When skill met luck: 4 things Australia’s COVID-19 response got right
A great measure of skill on the part of government policy (and a good dose of luck) helped Australia avoid a COVID catastrophe in 2020, writes UNSW Business School’s Richard Holden
Janet Yellen: the very model of a modern Madam Secretary
The next US Treasury Secretary – widely tipped to be Janet Yellen – will take office with the US in the worst economic shape since the Great Depression, writes UNSW Business School’s Richard Holden
Why Australia needs to prepare for a global carbon price now
Australia needs to take bigger steps towards a cleaner and greener economy, and it can do so without disadvantaging exporters, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Why an ongoing unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent is intolerable
Monetary and fiscal authorities should use all the firepower at their disposal to avoid ongoing unemployment rates of 5.5 per cent, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Google's market share doesn't automatically make it a monopoly
Just because a tech company has a big share of the market doesn't mean it has the power to keep it, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Strategic manufacturing: why Australia needs a different approach
It makes sense for Australia to take a more strategic approach to manufacturing certain equipment, even if producing these goods locally is not as efficient as buying them from overseas, writes UNSW Business School’s Richard Holden
The federal budget makes fiscal sense but avoids tricky tax reform
By not bringing phase 3 tax cuts forward in its federal budget, the government risks waiting too long to begin the task of serious tax reform, writes UNSW Business School’s Richard Holden
Google shouldn't subsidise journalism, but the government could
Making Google and Facebook pay Australian news publishers might be good politics, but it is odd economics, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Milton Friedman told us greed was good. He was half right
50 years ago Milton Friedman declared that greed was good, but there was always more to the story – as well as making profits firms hold the unique power to achieve social objectives, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
How do you fight a recession without precedent?
The current recession is an unusually deep one, and digging out of it will require first containing and defeating the virus followed by significant spending in addition tax cuts, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
How COVID-19 accelerated the university funding crisis
Australia's higher education sector needs significant reform to remove the perverse incentives that have made universities dependent on revenue from international students, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Lessons from AMP: how can shareholders effect company change?
With the resignation of key board members from AMP, UNSW Business School's Richard Holden says company shareholders looking to achieve socially optimal goals need to speak up and be heard
The Business Of Adaptive Leadership (episode 1)
This episode examines adaptive leadership through the lens of crisis recovery and the challenges business leaders now face because of COVID-19
The RBA has done all it can – now it's up to the government
With the Reserve Bank Australia having exhausted the limits of monetary policy, now is the time for the government to step up – like reducing imposts on business by lowering taxes, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Shorter meetings but longer days: how has COVID-19 changed the way we work?
COVID-19 induced lockdowns have reduced the amount of time most workers spend in meetings but increased their working hours, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
The cost of lockdowns is nowhere near as big as we have been told
Profound confusion about the economic cost of the coronavirus compared to the economic cost of lockdowns needs to be cleared up, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Stamp duty is an economic drag. Here's how to move to a better system
It's time to reform stamp duty – one of the most inefficient and distorting taxes collected by Australia's state and territory governments, writes Richard Holden
Why we need more stimulus to deal with the COVID-19 recession
Policy responses to the current economic crisis must be different to past responses as fiscal contraction may simply make a recession worse, writes UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
From coronavirus to recession: 6 keys to economic recovery
Australia has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild the economy, but the government must reform six key areas if it is to kickstart the post-coronavirus economic recovery, according to UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Is Scott Morrison's industrial relations peace gambit worth a shot?
Australia’s industrial relations system needs reform but it won’t happen without the key players agreeing to it themselves, writes UNSW Business School’s Richard Holden
What's the real economic cost-benefit of the COVID-19 shutdown?
The economic costs associated with the COVID-19 shutdown don't accurately factor in the real statistical value of people's lives, according to UNSW Sydney’s Richard Holden and University of Melbourne’s Bruce Preston
Time for COVID-bonds? 6 ways to help future-proof the economy
The government is providing stimulus on a scale hitherto unseen and could introduce “COVID bonds” to stimulate spending and growth, according to UNSW Business School's Richard Holden and University of Sydney's James Morley
Why the JobKeeper program requires a rethink of zero net-debt to GDP
The Federal Government’s JobKeeper program requires a bigger revolution in our national thinking about debt and deficits, writes Richard Holden
A time to borrow; a time to spend: rate cuts underline COVID-19 crisis
With the Reserve Bank cutting interest rates to record lows, the government has an opportunity to make smart investments that will pay huge dividends, writes Richard Holden
How technology is bringing people together to deal with coronavirus
The same technological forces that make the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak a global concern are also key to managing the crisis response, writes Richard Holden
Why secular stagnation haunts the Australian economy
A decade on from the GFC, it appears the economic hangover is still with us. UNSW Business School economics professor Richard Holden explains the situation to Julian Lorkin for BusinessThink.
A new focus on the network capital of movers and shakers
Can we utilise the power of connections and still facilitate competition?
Interest rate cut welcome – but what of secular stagnation?
We are caught in a low-growth, low-interest rate, low-inflation trap
A cut in interest rates could give a boost to the housing market
Australia's central bank will meet again to consider a move in interest rates, and is tipped to cut the cash rate to a record low 1.25 per cent. At least one further reduction is expected over coming months. An academic from UNSW Business School argues that a sharp cut in interest rates is needed to give a boost to the economy. However, he adds APRA’s planned cuts to lending rules may re energise the housing market more.
Climate change: a carbon tax that would leave households better off?
A carbon tax plan to aid climate change doesn't need loopholes or incentives to get handouts from the government, write UNSW Business School's Richard Holden
Is it time to drive a stake through key performance indicators?
The metrics may be of little use and specific targets give rise to manipulation
Boost the economy by improving the lives of deprived students
We are failing to address the gap in school achievement between rural, regional and remote children and their city counterparts.
How to appraise the true value of public expenditure
A new methodology measures social and commercial returns
Australian Budget 2018: Blue skies for baby-boomers
Our experts assess the government’s latest fiscal game plan
Australia's tenuous place in the new global economy
The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has released a report titled 'Australia's Place in the World', which considered how Australia should respond to changing attitudes to globalisation
Is an addiction to property stifling the economy?
Housing as a wealth generator drains investment from other areas
Australian Budget 2017: Is this really the blueprint for a rosy future?
Our experts look beyond the politics of the government’s latest plan
Budget 2017: Bank populism will be paid for by Australians
Treasurer Scott Morrison used to like to say Australia “doesn’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem”. It turns out this sentiment was true in 2016.
Vital signs: Why the government still thinks it can 'grow away' the deficit
The Treasurer, Scott Morrison, got a little unexpected positive pre-Budget news with upbeat reporting of Tuesday's Reserve Bank of Australia decision to do ... nothing.
Vital Signs: Treasurer Morrison is about to face a reality check
Can something that you think is almost surely going to happen still be big news when it does?
Brexit: In the short term OK, in the long run massive uncertainty
The better angels of Britain's nature lost. It is also a vote against the economic interest of Britain, Europe and the world.
Budget 2016: Are we heading in the right direction
Our experts drill down into the government’s latest fiscal plan
Budget timing tricks do nothing to help small business, nor the economy
I’ve always thought all businesses capable of creating jobs and wealth, regardless of their size. There’s certainly no economic theory that suggests big businesses can’t.
As treasurer, Hockey proved to be an ordinary Joe
Earlier this year, during the Prince Phillip knighthood debacle (dubbed #knightmare by Twitter), we speculated how Tony Abbott could make Malcolm Turnbull his treasurer, in place of the hapless Joe Hockey, and thereby save his prime ministership.
Alex Tsipras may be Greece's unlikely saviour
Last week, the man who led Greece to the brink of financial Armageddon, Alexis Tsipras, was returned to power in Greek elections. Is it a case of 'Here we go again'?
Abbott's first anniversary: open for business, closed to real reform
In his victory speech on election night last September, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared Australia was “under new management and … once more open for business”.
Forget about a currency war - we'll have bigger worries off a weaker yuan
The decline in the yuan is not really very large, and the way in which it happened is not all that nefarious
Business confidence got a post-budget boost... or did it?
National Australia Bank’s business confidence index jumped from 3 to 7 points this week, a nine-month high coming on the back of this year’s federal budget. The ANZ-Roy-Morgan consumer confidence index also rose after the budget.