Monday, July 19, 2010

Market design in Australia?

The Australian prime minister Julia Gillard makes a speech in which she refers to "market design." (I can't tell exactly what that means in Australian...). The story, in The Australian today, is headlined Gillard banks on Per Capita think tank.

"In her speech to Per Capita last year, she said the approach she had taken to education would provide the template for further work on policy design, innovation, research and evaluation.

"This included starting with the needs of students and focusing on the performance of institutions, rather than allowing the focus of policy to rest only on "systems, structures and sectoral concerns".

"She said this came with an emphasis on equity for the disadvantaged, a preoccupation with transparency and a concern with "market design".

"The idea of "market design" is a key theme for Per Capita. Governments have always had a role in setting the rules of conduct for markets through trade practices. Per Capita argues that with due government guidance, markets can perform a powerful role in delivering human services, such as the jobs network.

"Gillard returned to market design in her speech to the National Press Club on economic policy last week.

"As far as I am concerned, there is no inherent superiority in a public sector or a private sector provider, certainly not on ideological grounds. The challenge is not whether to combine public and private resources in these essential sectors, but how best to do it," she said. "

Update: Joshua Gans tells me that "market design" means the same thing in Australia that it does in Boston, and he points me to a talk on the subject he gave to the thinktank in question: Emerging Concepts in Market Design. (And here's Joshua's post on the subject today, to close the loop:) What is market design anyway?

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