Exchange rates, remittances and expenditure of households with foreign-born members: Evidence from Australia

TTPI Working Paper 10/2021

Authors: Syed Hasan, Shamim Shakur & Robert Breunig

We examine the impact of the depreciation of the Australian dollar (AU$) on the expenditure of households with foreign-born members (HFBMs) in Australia. Employing a difference-in-differences methodology and using the 2013-2015 Nielson Homescan Panel Survey data, we find that HFBMs spent more on food in 2014 and 2015 compared to their native counterparts. We verify our results for food and estimate the impact on total expenditure using the HILDA survey, a nationally representative panel dataset. We can rule out alternative explanations for our results such as differences between immigrants and natives in consumption of imports, income growth and price changes. Our empirical results provide insights on how exchange rate changes may affect immigrants differently than natives. Our findings are consistent with reduced spending by immigrants both in terms of remittances and in terms of travelling back to their countries of origin.

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Rehabilitating L.W. Sumner’s ‘Happiness Theory of Welfare’ – Part 1: Sumner’s welfare theoretic system

TTPI Working Paper 9/2021

Author: Andrew Sinstead-Reid

In philosophy, theories of welfare’s nature abound. One of these is Canadian moral philosopher L.W. Sumner’s (subjective) ‘happiness theory of welfare’, which he argues in his 1996 book ‘Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics’ (or ‘WHE’ for short) is “the best available … about the nature of welfare” (WHE, 184). Since its publication, Sumner’s theory of welfare has attracted a range of criticisms, such that it is now widely (though I would argue wrongly) regarded as falling well short of being “the best available”. This paper contends that criticisms of Sumner’s ‘happiness theory of welfare’ misinterpret or misunderstand the welfare theoretic system presented in WHE (explicated here in terms of that system’s implicit as well as explicit details). The totality of the implicit and explicit details of Sumner’s welfare theoretic system is ‘what Sumner’s really saying in WHE’ about welfare’s nature, which is more detailed and ‘determined’ than is currently appreciated in the philosophical literature. This paper lays the groundwork for a reappraisal (in a follow-up paper) of Sumner’s ‘happiness theory of welfare’ as a viable candidate for “the best available theory” of welfare’s nature.

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