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Photo: Cozine, Shutterstock.com

Photo: Cozine, Shutterstock.com

CBE 2018 research—A year in review

9 January 2019

The College of Business and Economics has had a fantastic and diverse output of research throughout 2018, with over 120 journal articles published from four research schools. Below is a selection from each school and a brief summary of the research.

An actuarial investigation into maternal health costs

Dr Jananie William, Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics

This research uses an actuarial approach to identify factors that impact government-funded maternal health costs in Australia, with a focus on women who experience adverse birth outcomes. The results show adverse birth outcomes are a statistically significant risk factor of maternal health costs in both the hospital and out-of-hospital system. For hospital costs, type of delivery is also identified as the most statistically significant cost risk factor for public patients. Results vary depending on private health insurance status for out-of-hospital costs, but mental health factors (including anxiety, intense anxiety, postnatal depression and stress about own health) are statistically significant across many models. Mental health policy is identified as a priority area for further investigation due to the dominance of these factors.

This is an example of how actuarial techniques can be applied to non-traditional areas and create opportunities to have a meaningful impact on public policy.

Read here: 1, 2

New development: Parliamentary ‘watchdogs’ taking a higher profile on government programme performance and accountability?

Honorary Professor Pat Barrett, Research School of Accounting

Distinguished Honorary Professor and Former Commonwealth Auditor-General Pat Barrett explores an enhanced role for the Auditor-General and the Parliament, through its various committees, to improve accountability for performance. In particular, the outcomes of actual published program results, not just economically and efficiently but also, effectively, to promote public trust and confidence in government. This is in the context of a recently completed Independent Review. Pat Barrett also looks at comparisons with other relevant reviews/reports in Australia, and the USA, to examine possible lessons for success and analyses likely outcomes.

The Independent Review was set up to examine and report on the operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) ACT 2013. The Government has yet to respond to the Review’s recommendations. However, it will no doubt be an important input to the current overall Review which was set up to ensure the APS is ‘fit-for-purpose’ in the coming decades, with a particular emphasis on building capacity to innovate, collaborate, and to use data and technology more effectively. That Review is due to report in June 2019.

Read here: 1

Biophilia and biophobia in website design: Improving internet information dissemination

Dr Amir Riaz, Research School of Management

Drawing on evolutionary psychology, this research looks at how human recall of information via websites is affected by their emotions at the time. It shows that emotional responses improve information recall and it has significant implications for user interface design. It also highlights how information providers can help their targeted audience better retain information, such as on government websites or in advertising.

The research establishes some clear and valuable frameworks for website design that can also be applied to emotional association with content. For example, how best to use imagery in government campaigns to improve public knowledge of various topics such as climate change, health related issues etc.

Read here: 1

Performance in mixed-sex and single-sex competitions: What we can learn from speedboat races in Japan

Professor Alison Booth, Research School of Economics

In speedboat racing in Japan, men and women compete under the same conditions and are randomly assigned to mixed-sex or single-sex groups for each race. This makes it a very useful parallel for exploring how outcomes and efficiency in a professional setting are affected by sex-based dynamics and team make up.

This research uses a sample of over 140,000 individual-level records to examine how male-dominated circumstances affect women’s racing performance. It shows that fixed-effects estimates reveal that women’s race time is slower in mixed-sex than all-women races, whereas men’s race time is faster in mixed-sex than men-only races. Moreover, in mixed-sex races, men are more aggressive, as proxied by lane changing, than women in spite of the risk of being penalised for rule infringement.

Read here: 1


Updated:   22 January 2019 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team