Economics committee to hear from former ACCC Chair, economists and market design experts

THE House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics will hear from a range of experts in competition law, experimental economics and market design on Thursday, May 18, via videoconference as part of the committee’s inquiry into promoting economic dynamism, competition and business formation.

Committee Chair, Daniel Mulino MP, said, “Innovative market designs have been shown to lead to life-changing, and even life-saving, results, so the committee is looking forward to hearing from pioneering economists in this field, including CalTech’s Professor Charlie Plott; UQ’s Professor Flavio Menezes and John Quiggin; and the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Market Design (Professors Simon Loertscher and David Byrne, and Gary Stoneham)."

Dr Mulino said market design could lead to increases in quality of life while simultaneously providing better value for a range of government spending areas.

“A local example is a bus transport pilot for students attending the Northern School of Autism," he said. "Students were travelling up to two hours each way and missing classes. The long travel times increased the students’ anxiety, which led to increased tension among families.

“Market design economists used algorithms to devise a scheme that determined the optimal travel route; the optimal vehicle size; and the prices at which services were provided within the parameters of a maximum travel time of one hour each way. The result was happier children and families for no additional cost to government.”

Dr Mulino said 'matching markets' was another type of market design “and a great example is the kidney exchange system, which has saved many more lives following its implementation”.

‘‘Market design theory can be applied to Australia’s economy in a variety of ways — whether that be designing markets that are fair and efficient, mechanisms that encourage new entrants into the market and prevent collusion, as well as developing platforms and marketplaces that facilitate these transactions," Dr Mulin said.

Market design can also substantially improve procurement outcomes. This could be of direct relevance to a number of quasi markets that have been established for the provision of social services.

The committee has looked at a number of issues relating to market concentration and competition issues more broadly.

Dr Mulino said competition and merger law was another complex area, and the committee was looking forward to hearing from former ACCC Chair Professor Allan Fels AO and other competition law experts, including Professor Deborah Healey (UNSW) and Dr Rhonda Smith (the University of Melbourne) on their experiences and ideas for ways to improve competition, foster economic dynamism and increase productivity.

More details about the inquiry and upcoming public hearings, including the full terms of reference, are available on the committee’s website.

Public hearing details

Date: Thursday 18 MayTime: 9.30am to 2.45pm AESTvia VIDEOCONFERENCE

The public hearing will be broadcast live at



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