My name is Eamon McGinn. I live in Sydney, Australia.
I work at Deloitte Access Economics. I'm a Director and my work mostly covers economic aspects of transport, infrastructure and energy. I use quantitative microeconomic modelling to answer business and policy questions. This includes policy simulation, cost benefit analysis and forecasting. I mostly work on infrastructure intensive industries such as transport, energy and mining.
Before working at Deloitte I worked at the Australian Energy Regulator and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
I am currently undertaking a PhD in economics at University of Technology Sydney. I anticipate completion in 2020. I've been awarded the Ross Milbourne Research Scholarship in Economics. My research applies econometrics to questions in political economics – particularly voter and politician behaviour. I have tutored in public economics, globabl economy and environmental economics.
I have an undergraduate degree in Commerce with Honours in Economics from The University of Sydney. I was awarded the Jack Tilburn Honours Scholarship and my honours thesis focussed on mechanisms for cooperation in repeated games. I tutored classes in introductory Microeconomics, introductory Macroeconomics and Political Economy.
I also have a Masters degree in Economics from the University of NSW. I focussed on Microeconomics and Econometrics. A term paper produced as part of the degree was published in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports in 2013.
On the side, I completed a Graduate Diploma of Brewing at Federation University.
Polarization of politicians and the electorate is a common theme in the current discussion of politics. However, there is a mix of empirical findings on whether polarization is actually occuring and no consensus on its cause. In this paper I adapt a simple model of political behavior to be applicable to a recent potentially polarizing moment in Australia – a national vote on same sex marriage. Applying a text as data approach allows for analysis of the short period of intense debate in parliament that followed release of the results. Measuring the degree of support or opposition to SSM in speeches over time indicates that politicians who were ideologically opposed to SSM strengthened their opposition regardless of how their electorate voted while supporters of SSM did not change their behavior. This result indicates that polarization did occur and that the polarizing behavior is consistent with differences in political ideology being associated with differences in prior beliefs about the state of the world. In this case, although the vote was in favor of SSM, the results provided information on the level of opposistion to SSM that encouraged polarization of opposers of SSM.
Voter turnout in mature democracies tends to range from around 50-70%. Low, for something as critical as electing policymakers, but much higher than basic economic theory would predict. Even in Australia, where voting is compulsory, there are still around 5-6% of voters who submit an informal vote, which does not count towards the total. We make use of a natural experiment, based on exogenous changes in electorate boundaries, to identify what factors influence the decision to waste a vote. In an advance from the existing literature, we are able to test a range of potential contributing factors together, in a single model, and with causal interpretation. We find that factors that feature in the traditional theory on voter decisions, competitiveness and number of other voters, do not affect the rate of informal voting. Instead we find that more candidates on the ballot results in higher levels of informal voting. This effect is present regardless of level of education, which indicates that it is likely to be associated with a decision by the voter to abstain rather than an error. We conclude that making the way voters can express their preferences as simple as possible would be beneficial for reducing wasted votes.