February 2024

IZA Policy Paper No. 208: Ten Lessons for Economic Policymakers

Economists have played a powerful role in shaping modern Australia. Drawing on my experience as an academic economist and an economic policymaker, I outline ten principles to guide economists seeking to maximise their impact. These are to (1) Focus on wellbeing, not just dollars; (2) Think comparative advantage; (3) Ignore sunk costs; (4) Optimise, subject to constraints; (5) Use the best evidence; (6) Consider expected value; (7) Think in magnitudes, not just in signs; (8) Channel a libertarian; (9) Remember equity; and (10) Incentives matter.