Image by Bernard Spragg. NZ CC0 1.0 via Flickr

As the year 2020 comes to an end, the Austaxpolicy team would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our contributors and readers for your support and contributions throughout the year. We know this year has been tough for many and we hope the end of the year holiday season could offer some respite and serve as a reset for a better year in 2021.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has had a profound impact on tax and transfer policy debate. Many governments have resorted to unconventional measures such as paying direct wage subsidies to firms to keep jobs, which were unthinkable before the crisis. There are renewed calls for a more progressive tax and transfer system and policy ideas such as universal basic income and a wealth tax are being revisited in the light of the pandemic. Many are concerned about the sustainability of public finances and there are pushes on various fronts for governments to use this ‘once-in-a-100-year’ crisis as an opportunity to undertake bold, yet well-considered, tax reform for the betterment of society. Many of these issues are featured in our blog articles this year. While COVID-19 disrupted the economy and sent many of us into lockdown in Australia and around the world, we are honoured to have continued support from seasoned academics, policy experts, and early career and young researchers on a wide range of tax, transfer and public finance issues.

In 2020, we published 98 articles written by 108 experts across academia, government, and international organisations. We also posted more than 260 news pieces. Many of them are about the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the lives of people and government responses to the crisis, for example JobKeeper, JobSeeker as well as other measures, in Australia and overseas. We also continued to present the latest research from academia and our authors shared their tax and transfer policy insights for a post-COVID world. In September and October, we held our annual Budget Forum (it was later than usual because of the delay of the 2020-21 Australian Budget) and our authors debated various budget measures from different perspectives.

During the year, more than 50,000 readers visited our blog and we recorded more than 81,000 page views. More than half of our readers are from Australia and we are also followed by overseas readers from the United States, the United Kingdom, India, China and other countries.

We are taking our down under summer break from publishing the blog from today. We will return with new energy and great new posts in February 2021. From now till then, you may pick up the articles you missed during the year, by searching for Topics or Authors, or just browsing the site. We have also compiled our top ten new articles in 2020 and the top ten articles over the last three years (2018-2020) below.

All the best for a restful and peaceful holiday and a happy new year from the Austaxpolicy team!


From Mathias Sinning, Miranda Stewart, Sonali Walpola and Editorial Assistant Teck Chi Wong.


Top ten new articles from 2020

  1. The Tax System Implications of Universal Basic Income (28 February 2020), by Myles Bayliss.
  2. Tax Incentives and Foreign Direct Investment in Developing Countries (9 March 2020), by Athiphat Muthitacharoen.
  3. [Budget Forum 2020] Progressivity and the Personal Income Tax Plan (22 October 2020), by Sonali Walpola and Yuan Ping.
  4. The Government’s Fiscal Tool Kit for COVID-19 (7 April 2020), by Miranda Stewart and Peter Whiteford.
  5. JobKeeper Could Be a Depression Beater (9 April 2020), by Chris Edmond, Steven Hamilton and Bruce Preston.
  6. How Equivalized Household Incomes Are Misinforming Tax and Transfer Policy (26 October 2020), by Patricia Apps and Ray Rees.
  7. Analysing New Zealand’s Digital Services Tax Proposal (23 April 2020), by Benjamin Walker.
  8. Social Security and COVID-19: Exposing the Limits of Social Protection? (20 April 2020), by Jane Millar and Peter Whiteford.
  9. Let’s Finally Reform the Tax System (28 April 2020), by Robert Breunig.
  10. Child Budgeting During COVID-19: The Case of Indian State of Karnataka (6 August 2020), by Jannet Farida Jacob and Lekha Chakraborty.


Top ten articles from 2018 to 2020

  1. No Case for Tightening the Age Pension Means Test: A Response to Michael Keane’s Analysis (26 July 2019), by Andrew Podger.
  2. The Impact of GST on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Owners in the Malaysian Retail Sector (13 March 2018), by Yong Mun Ching, Jeyapalan Kasipillai and Ashutosh Sarker.
  3. Should We Tax Sugar — and If So, How? (17 June 2019), by Peter Lloyd and Donald MacLaren.
  4. Politics of Taxation in the Roman Empire (28 February 2019), by Sven Günther.
  5. Consumption Taxation in Rawls’ Theory of Justice (5 September 2019), by David Elkins.
  6. Pay Disclosure: Information Is Power for Employers and Empowers Employees (23 July 2018), by Kristen Sobeck and Robert Breunig.
  7. Tax Havens: The Little Islands That Are Costing You Big Money (25 September 2018), by Andrew Leigh.
  8. [Budget Forum 2019] Tax Offsets and Equity in the Scheme for Taxing Resident Individuals (17 April 2019), by Sonali Walpola and Yuan Ping.
  9. Social Security and Robo-Debt (5 June 2018), by Terry Carney.
  10. Australia’s Mature Age Worker Tax Offset: The Employment Effects and Fiscal Cost Consequences (15 October 2018), by Andrew Carter and Robert Breunig.

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