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Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

24 May 2010


Robb Must Correct Record on NBER

This morning Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb has continued his recent run of economic incompetence and ignorance, describing independent analysis published by the National Bureau of Research Economic as "the shonkiest piece of work you have ever seen".

The analysis is co-authored by Professor Douglas Shackelford and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The NBER is considered the leading independent economics research institute in the United States.

16 of the 31 American Nobel Prize- winners in Economics and six of the past Chairmen of the President's Council of Economic Advisers have been researchers at the NBER.

The NBER is considered so authoritative in the US economic debate that it is considered to be the official arbiter of the US business cycle, pronouncing when recessions begin and end.

Professor Shackelford has been the Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School since 2003. He has been an NBER Research Associate since 1997 and an International Research Fellow of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation since 2007. He has published extensively in the tax area.

The analysis had been commented on by some of the leading authorities in the field, including Michael Devereux, Director of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation, and Joel Slemrod, Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan.

The analysis is published with acknowledgments to many other leading authorities:

We appreciate the helpful comments from Rosanne Altshuler, Julian Alworth, Elizabeth Blankespoor, Kim Clausing, Mihir Desai, Michael Devereux, Scott Dyreng, Kevin Hassett, Michelle Hanlon, Ken Klassen, Mark Lang, Peter Merrill, Jana Raedy, Nemit Schroff, Joel Slemrod, Martin Sullivan, and workshop participants at the 2009 Institute for Fiscal Studies/European Tax Policy Forum conference, the 2009 International Tax Policy Forum/Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center Institution conference, the 2009 Journal of the American Taxation Association Tax Research Conference, Duke University, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, and the University of North Carolina.

The analysis is reproduced and sourced on page 169 (Part II) of the Australia's Future Tax System Review produced by the independent tax review panel, headed by Dr Ken Henry.

Mr Robb must immediately correct the record if he is to be taken seriously in Australian economic debate.

Following his disastrous Budget reply performance, when he could not nominate the budget impact of Coalition policies, Mr Robb needs to focus on his own economic policies if the Liberals are to resurrect their tattered economic credibility.

24 May 2010