chapter  10
23 Pages

The age of economic reform

This chapter briefly discusses the economic reform processes of the 1980s and how Australasian university economists reacted to them and the extent of their influence. The 1980s was undoubtedly a decade when, after an initial burst of Keynesianism by the Australian Labor government, the prevailing economic philosophy was neoliberalism or, in the Australian vernacular, one of economic rationalism. In New Zealand it was known as 'Rogernomics' after the Finance Minister, Roger Douglas. This change in philosophy was already infusing university economics departments: the ANU and Monash in Australia and Canterbury in New Zealand. Melbourne was still the sentimental home of old-style Keynesianism, but that, too, was coming under challenge. The chapter focuses on one particular episode at the Melbourne Institute where a feud raged over two different econometric models of the Australian economy and the philosophy that underpinned them.