Improving Economic Outcomes for Regional Australians

Monday December 11, 2017
Woodward Conference Centre,
Level 10, 185 Pelham Street,
Carlton, VIC 3010

The CMD’s inaugral Regional Markets Conference is part of the Centre for Market Design’s research program on increasing market thickness through market design and regulation.

This program is generously supported by the Samuel and June Hordern Endowment and the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business and Economics.

The second Regional Markets Conference is to be held in February 2019.
More details to come.




The Regional Markets Conference program comprised two key parts, the first addressed the design of market mechanisms that effectively reallocate natural resources such as water and land. The second sessions addressed the various aspects of the effect of distance and the cost of information, with a particular emphasis on the health sector.

Message from the CMD Director

Professor Simon Loertscher
Director, Centre for Market Design
University of Melbourne

Welcome to the inaugural CMD Regional Markets Conference.
We are excited to bring together such a skilled and diverse group of experts and stakeholders to create better economic outcomes for regional Australians.

Distance and transportation costs associated with remoteness have always been an impediment to thick, competitive markets in regional and rural areas.
However, recent advances in information technologies, economists’ improved understanding of the determinants of market competitiveness, and innovations in market design offer promising new avenues to mitigate the tyranny of distance.

Dr David Byrne, Associate Professor Tom Wilkening, Professor Soumendu Sarker, Professor Anthony Scott and I will present relevant research at the Conference.
We will also have two Policy Roundtable sessions with participants from the ACCC, Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance and the Productivity Commission.

I look forward to welcoming you to the Conference.

Simon Loertscher


David Byrne
Capability Director, Centre for Market Design
University of Melbourne

David Byrne is an applied econometrician with a focus on industrial economics, with particular research interests in the areas of cable TV, petrol, pharmaceuticals, and electricity.
David completed his PhD studies at Queen’s University and is the Director of Capability Building at the Centre for Market Design.
David works at the intersection of industrial organisation and econometrics. He develops theory-based structural econometric models to empirically evaluate the design, performance, and structure of markets. His recent work has focused on these issues in the context of cable, petrol, pharmaceutical, and retail electricity markets.

Access the abstract of the paper David will present at the conference here

Tom Wilkening
University of Melbourne

Tom Wilkening is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne.  His research interests are in the areas of market design, experimental economics, and organizational economics, with a focus on understanding how economic systems can be made more robust to behavioral biases and bounded reasoning.  The applications of his research include land auctions, spectrum auctions, bushfire warning systems, and contract design.  His papers have been published in top general interest and field journals, including the American Economic Review, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Economic Literature, and the Journal of the European Economic Association.  Tom received his Ph.D in Economics from MIT in 2008.

Access the paper Tom is presenting at the conference here

Simon Loertscher
Director, Centre for Market Design
University of Melbourne

Simon Loertscher is the Director of the Centre for Market Design and a Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne.
Simon received his PhD from the University of Bern. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University in New York City.
His research interests relate to industrial organisation. A particular focus of his research is on models of market micro-structure and market making in environments with two-sided private information.

Access the paper Simon is presenting at the conference here

Soumendu Sarkar
TERI University

Soumendu Sarkar (PhD, Indian Statistical Institute) is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the MSc Economics program at TERI University, New Delhi.
His major areas of interest are design of auctions and mechanisms, contract theory and strategic social choice. Currently he is working on mechanism design for land acquisition. He teaches courses on Microeconomic Theory and Mathematical Economics at TU and likes fiction and jazz.

Access the abstract of the paper Sounmendu will present at the conference here

Daniel Norrie
Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance

Daniel Norrie works for the Red Tape Commissioner, whose task is to work with Victoria’s business community and the Victorian Government to cut red tape and improve regulation. Daniel consults with businesses and industry groups about problems with regulation and provides analysis to assist the Commissioner and Victorian Government agencies to undertake reform. Daniel is also undertaking the Master of Economics course at the University of Melbourne.

Jane Doolan
Productivity Commission

Jane Doolan is currently the Environment Commissioner with the Australian Productivity Commission as well as a Director of Western Water Corporation and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra. She has more than 25 years experience in sustainable water resource management, providing policy advice on issues such as urban and rural water supply and security, national water reform, river health, environmental water allocation and catchment management, and the management of water during drought and climate change. Previous positions include Professorial Fellow in Natural Resource Governance at the University of Canberra, Deputy Secretary for Water in the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Commissioner with the National Water Commission and Chair of the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre.

John Freebairn
Ritchie Chair Of Economics
University of Melbourne

John Freebairn holds the Ritchie chair in economics at the University of Melbourne. He has degrees from the University of New England and the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining Melbourne in 1996, his preceding career includes university appointments at the ANU, LaTrobe and Monash, and periods with the NSW Department of Agriculture and the Business Council of Australia. John is an applied microeconomist and economic policy analyst with current interests in taxation reform and environmental economics.

Nick Cooke
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Nick Cooke is a Director in the Agriculture Unit within the ACCC. The Agriculture Unit was established to examine competition and unfair trading issues in agricultural supply chains. Nick is currently working on the ACCC’s inquiry into the dairy industry.  Nick has been with the ACCC for over seven years in a range of roles across the economic and mergers groups, with broad experience in directing and providing economic analysis on merger matters and enforcement investigations across a number of industries. Prior to the ACCC, Nick worked at the Reserve Bank of Australia for three years. Nick has bachelor degrees in commerce (with honours in economics) and law from the University of Melbourne.

Paul Lindwall
Productivity Commission

Paul Lindwall is a full-time Commissioner, appointed for a five-year term commencing on 1 January 2015. Paul was an Associate Commissioner for the Public Infrastructure Inquiry.
Paul has served as a senior official with the Australian Treasury, the Department of Finance and the Productivity Commission with a focus on macroeconomic policy, financial markets, industry policy, national security and social policy.
He has represented Australia at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and as a diplomatic representative to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg. Paul also later worked as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary-General and the Public Governance Directorate of the OECD.
Paul has bachelor and master degrees in economics from the Australian National University (ANU) as well as a diploma in Ancient History and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Paul is a member of the board of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

Shasi Karunanethy
University of Melbourne

Shashi Karunanethy is a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, he was a consulting economist for 8 years working in urban planning, economic geography and regional economic planning. His research interests relate to political and development economics. A particular focus of his research is on conflict economics, institutional formation and the political economics of policy making.

Anthony Scott
Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
University of Melbourne

Anthony Scott leads the Health Economics Research Program at the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research at The University of Melbourne, and jointly co-ordinates the University of Melbourne Health Economics Group (UMHEG). Professor Scott has a PhD in Economics from the University of Aberdeen and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Economics, and Health Economics, the President of the Australian Health Economics Society, and a member of the Board of the International Health Economics Association. Professor Scott is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and he has been an ARC Future Fellow and an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. Professor Scott holds visiting positions at the University of Aberdeen and the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, and has been a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. Professor Scott’s research interests focus on the behaviour of physicians, health workforce, incentives and performance, primary care, and hospitals. He has undertaken work for the World Bank, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, and the Commonwealth and State Departments of Health. He leads the Centre for Research Excellence in Medical Workforce Dynamics ( Funded by the NHMRC, the Centre runs a large nationally representative panel survey of physicians called “Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL)”.

Danielle Wood
Budget Policy and Institutions Program Director
Grattan Institute

Danielle Wood is the Budget Policy and Institutions Program Director at the Grattan Institute. Danielle’s main research interests are tax and budget policy, intergenerational inequality and economic and political institutions.
Danielle previously worked as Principal Economist and Mergers Director at the ACCC, Senior Consultant at NERA Economic Consulting, and as a Senior Research Economist at the Productivity Commission.
Danielle has a Masters of Economics and a Masters in Competition Law from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from the University of Adelaide.
Danielle is the National and Victorian Chair of the Women in Economics Network. She sits on the Victorian and Central Council for the Economic Society of Australia.


Access the papers and abstracts being presented at the Conference here