Stamp duty's mobility effects: Evidence from Australian homeownersSupporting documentation (R code) for analysis replication
Stamp duty is often labelled a particularly inefficient tax, but evidence that it affects household mobility is mixed. I used a panel of Australian homeowners to quantify stamp duty’s effect on mobility decisions. I found that the negative effects of stamp duty on household mobility are significant. Under the more conservative of my two models, I found that a 10 per cent increase in the value of stamp duty levied on a transaction corresponds to a 2.3 per cent reduction in mobility. In the absence of stamp duty, I found that approximately 425,000 additional housing transactions would occur each year across Australia’s mainland states (an increase of around 90 per cent).
Stamp duty and equity in AustraliaWith Professor John Freebairn (The University of Melbourne)
Stamp duty is a core part of the Australian tax system, but large components of its effect on the economy are unknown. In particular, the distribution of stamp duty's costs are not well understood. This has been hampered by a lack of quantitative studies of stamp duty's costs, and by limited discussion of stamp duty's effect on rental markets. This paper addressed this gap by establishing a theoretical framework for understanding stamp duty's incidence, and then by estimating the distribution of its costs. We found that stamp duty is a regressive tax, and that this regressiveness is predominantly due to the fact that housing costs are a significantly higher share of household income in low income households. We also found that the economic incidence of stamp duty is not particularly relevant to interrogations of how costs are distributed, because (unlike in many other markets), most people who sell housing tend to purchase houses of a similar value within a short time period of selling. We also provided some thoughts on current reform proposals and then discussed how land taxes could be designed in light of political barriers.
Policy reports and papers
The Victorian Government played a central role in responding to the closure of the Hazelwood Power Plant in the Labrobe Valley. This report provides the Victorian Government with strategic advice about how to improve its approach to assisting regions undergoing or facing economic transition. It uses case studies and literature to inform best practice of government intervention, and evaluates the Victorian Government's response to Hazelwood's closure. It recommends the Victorian Government to take a variety of steps to streamline the provision of assistance to regions facing transition.