An exciting PhD scholarship opportunity at the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) is now open to support research on taxation, pensions and welfare policy design for Australia.

Project synopsis

This PhD research program will combine theoretical and empirical innovations in behavioural tax and welfare policy evaluation and household decision modelling to explore how reforms to Australia’s personal taxation, pensions, payments, family assistance and child-care support system – in isolation and in combination – can be designed in the most cost-effective way to target specific objectives.

The research will seek answers to important policy questions that should ideally guide public spending decisions – for example:

  • How cost-effective would employment tax credits be in promoting employment and alleviating poverty among the working poor, compared with, say, active labour market policies or award wage reforms?
  • What would be the optimal way of spending $X billion on public policies to promote employment?
  • What structures of personal taxation would be optimal for Australia under alternative efficiency, equity or work incentive criteria?
  • How should family support policies and childcare subsidies be co-designed to better address the financial barriers to labour force participation, or to optimise employment outcomes for women or for other equity groups? Read more


The project will be supported by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), the Faculty of Business and Law and the Graduate Research School to deliver a successful project outcome.

  • The basic scholarship is supported through the 2020 Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship scheme at Curtin University, and provides a living allowance and tuition fees for up to four years.
  • BCEC will provide the successful applicant with a 33% top-up over and above the standard RTP stipend rate.
  • The successful PhD scholar will be provided with desk space within the Centre to co-locate with BCEC researchers.
  • The Graduate Research School will meet the standard provision of research funds for PhD students in the form of consumables and travel.
  • The Faculty will provide a laptop, shared workspace and research training.
  • BCEC will meet any further requirements for IT hardware, software, data or administrative support, as is the case for all BCEC PhD Students.

Candidate requirements

The candidate should have a tertiary degree at Honours I or higher, with evidence of expertise/aptitude in data analysis, econometric modelling and computer programming. An awareness of tax and public policy issues is also strongly desirable.


The successful PhD scholar will be supervised by BCEC’s Professor Alan Duncan, Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells, Dr Silvia Salazar and Dr Richard Seymour.

Research environment

The Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre is one of the most reputable economics research groups in Australia, and benefits from strong links with economics groups and researchers nationally and internationally. The Centre has an exceptional reputation for world-leading research in applied economics, taxation and welfare policy, household behavioural modelling, public policy, econometrics and data analysis, and supports a talented group of PhD students. The proposed research is possible because of the unique Evaluation of Income and Taxes in Australia (EVITA) tax policy microsimulation model developed by BCEC. This research will enhance EVITA to accommodate behavioural responses to tax, welfare and family assistance reform, and enable policy commentary on the benefits of reform to special equity groups.


Further enquiries about this research project, or the Centre, can be directed to the supervision team.

(Source: Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre)


On the blog

The Income Tax Treatment of Housing Assets – Assessing Proposed Reform Arrangements, by Alan Duncan, Helen Hodgson, John Minas, Rachel Ong and Richard Seymour (6 June 2019)

Comments are closed.