What we expect from our policy makers

11-07-2018 by admin

BRIDGING THE GAP: Academics at La Trobe University are working collaboratively on cancer statistics, regional cancer services and how best to measure health inequalities. Recent reports indicate that economic inequality is rising in Bendigo.

People are concerned about worsening regional access to jobs and services and increasing income inequality, which is reported in Australia.These matters are obviously an area of concern for us.

Whether inequality is, as some believe, the price paid for a flexible economy, or whether it is inexcusable unfairness fraying the fabric of social capital, the contention needs to be investigated.

Such concerns also lead to asking, ‘What should we expect both for, and from, our policy-makers?’For our policy-makers, we should expect that their processes are suitably informed.

Economic tools support policy discussion and bring policy issues into the dimension of reality.

Our policy-makers should expect to be provided with research findings that have incorporated economics.

It is concerning how often policy-makers are informed by research that overlooks economics. This is simply unacceptable.

From our policy-makers, we can expect an awareness of cutting-edge research emphases. For instance, although debate about economic inequality is mostly framed around income inequality, economists say individual utility is mostly derived from consumption of goods and services, including leisure.

Therefore, widening our gaze to include both consumption inequality and inequality over leisure time is vital and often people in regional areas already mention the inequalities they face in accessing health and education services.

Regional people should require from our policy-makers improved approaches to measuring such consumption inequalities.

Measurement matters. For example, economists continue to emphasise the limitations of GDP as a measure of economic welfare.

GDP does not account for the value to prosperity of home duties such as child-care or unpaid-for work. An economic approach to incorporating length of life into GDP is warranted also. Research on such limitations should matter to our policy-makers.

Inequality measurement matters. Economists and mathematicians have worked on inequality measurement for over a century.

Measurement can be widened beyond income inequality. Some people are not benefiting from the epic advances to length of life we have seen emerge in medicine – some die an early death.

Little is known about how to measure health inequalities appropriately. There is an age distribution around mortality, and a regional distribution. Mortality inequality warrants attention.

Locally, there are some academics at La Trobe University working collaboratively on cancer statistics, regional cancer services and how best to measure health inequalities.

We develop sound concepts and correct measurement. Our work contributes to ensuring government policies are made in the context of a careful consideration of the statistics and inequalities affecting society.

Note: It would seem very wise to spare a thought for the source of the wealth and health of nations. The Nobel prize-winning economist, Angus Deaton, has a recent book about an historic break-out from poverty. The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality also examines the prospects for those left behind.

– Dr Ruth Williams is a La Trobe University Department of Mathematics and Statisticshonorary senior fellow (economics)This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

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